FORENSICS SOCIETY AT UH HONORS SEVEN ALUMNI
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
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
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.
For more information about UH visit the universitys Newsroom at www.uh.edu/admin/media/newsroom.