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Office of External Communications

Houston, TX 77204-5017 Fax: 713.743.8199

October 18, 2005

Contact: Angie Joe
713.743.8153 (office)
713.617.7138 (pager)

Five Inducted Into Newly Created Hall of Fame, Two Receive Lifetime Achievement Awards

HOUSTON, Oct. 18, 2005 – They journeyed from all over Texas and even the world to be honored by their alma mater, the University of Houston, for achievements in speech and debate.

The UH Forensics Society, led by director and coach Michael Fain, recognized seven accomplished individuals for their achievements, both past and present, with five inductions into the society’s newly created Hall of Fame and two Lifetime Achievement Awards.

The seven individuals honored were Edward Black, Bernie Burrus, Russell McMains, David Seikel, Lee Ware, John Neibel and James Perdue.

Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Perdue brought the UH Debate team to “powerhouse” status during his time at UH as a competitor and coach from 1957-1963, winning numerous debate awards throughout the country. He is now a nationally recognized lawyer as a member of The Inner Circle. The Inner Circle of Advocates is self-described as “100 of the best plaintiff lawyers in the U.S., an invitation-only group, limited to 100 lawyers of excellent character and integrity.”

Seikel, Hall of Fame inductee, is a lawyer who now teaches debate at a university in the Czech Republic and was active in the Forensics Society in the 1970s. Seikel and his partner, Ware, also a Hall of Fame inductee, finished second in the National Debate Tournament in 1967. In the following year, Seikel and debater David Miller placed second in the same tournament. Only Harvard had a higher ranking team.

Neibel came to UH in 1951 to join Ed Black, another Hall of Fame honoree, in starting the UH Forensic Society and forming the first debate team at UH. Neibel later became dean of the UH Law Center.

Ware was Seikel’s debate partner when the pair finished second in the National Debate Tournament of 1967 and 1968. After graduating from law school, he went on to form his own law firm, Ware, Snow, Fogel & Jackson, LLP.

Burrus was one of the first competitors from UH’s newly formed team to be recognized at a national competition in 1951. He advanced to the national championships again in 1952. He retired from his position as a New York University Law professor and now authors municipal law treatises in Texas.

McMains is the most successful debate competitor in UH history. He competed from 1969 to 1971. As a lawyer, he served as lead council for the landmark Texaco vs. Penzoil decision in 1983. Most recently, he was lead defense council for the highly publicized trial of dentist Clara Harris.

Black was the debate partner of Neibel in 1951, a member of the very first UH debate team.

The UH Forensics Society was founded in 1951, but eventually disbanded because of funding cuts. In 2001, Fain revived the program with the support of Vice President of Student Affairs Elwyn C. Lee and The Honors College.
Since taking over, Fain has restructured the direction and purpose of the debate program, which now has almost 150 members, by involving the team in community service and debate tournaments for local middle and high school students. Thirteen members have won national championships since the program’s revival in 2001, and the Society has received the National Community Service Award for two consecutive years.



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