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The Raft Debate

2012 Raft Debate

Click here to read a complete summary of the 2013 Raft Debate

Wall Street Journal article about the 2013 Raft Debate

The 2013 Raft Debate will be held on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 6:30 p.m. in the Commonwealth Auditorium of the Sadler Center (University Center).  A reception with cake will be held following the event in Tidewater A, which is free and open to the public.

Described as a “delicate balance of comedy and lecture”, the annual Raft Debate features four W&M faculty members from diverse disciplines, stranded on a desolate island with only a one-person life raft for escape to civilization.  Which faculty member should survive for the sake of humanity?  Based on the volume of applause, the audience chooses the sole survivor as the professors cajole, plead, pontificate, and resort shamelessly to props and costumes.

The quirky event originated in the mid-1900s and was revived during the 2000s by the Graduate Center, the A&S Office of Graduate Studies and Research, and the A&S Graduate Student Association.  Faculty participants represent the Humanities, the Social Sciences, or the Natural and Computational Sciences.  The Devil’s Advocate, who argues sarcastically that none of the academic disciplines are worth saving, has on rare occasion emerged victoriously.

The 2013 particpants are Dan Cristol for the Natural and Computational Sciences, John Riofrio for the Humanities, Thomas Linneman Social Sciences, and Sarah Day as Devil’ s Advocate.   Virginia Torczon will serve as Judge.

Click here to read a complete summary of the 2012 Raft Debate

 


Previous participants:

September 20102:

Humanities, Anne Charity Hudley, Professor, Community Studies [English and Education],
Natural/Computational Sciences, Oliver Kerscher, Associate Professor, Biology,
Social Sciences, Christine Nemacheck, Associate Professor, Government,
Devil's Advocate, Arthur Knight, Associate Professor, American Studies and English,
Judge, John Swaddle, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

September 2011:

Humanities,Vassiliki Panoussi, Associate Professor, Classical Studies
Natural/Computational Sciences, Larry Leemis, Professor, Mathematics
Social Sciences, Andrew Fisher, Associate Professor, History
Devil's Advocate, Pamela Eddy, Associate Professor, Education

Judge, Laurie Sanderson, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

September 2010:

Humanities, Richard Palmer, Professor, Theatre, Speech & Dance
Natural/Computational Sciences, Lisa Landino, Associate Professor, Chemistry
Social Sciences, Lee Kirkpatrick, Associate Professor, Psychology
Devil's Advocate, Scott Dodson, Associate Professor, Law
Judge, Laurie Sanderson, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

September 2009: 
Humanities, Giulia Pacini, Associate Professor, Modern Languages and Literatures
Natural/Computational Sciences, David Armstrong, Professor, Physics
Social Sciences, David Feldman, Professor, Economics
Devil’s Advocate, Jeremy Stoddard, Assistant Professor, Education
Judge, Laurie Sanderson, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

October 2008: 
Humanities, Steve Holliday, Associate Professor, Theatre, Speech, and Dance
Natural/Computational Sciences, Mark Forsyth, Associate Professor, Biology
Social Sciences, Danielle Dallaire,  Assistant Professor, Psychology
Devil’s Advocate, Laura Heymann, Assistant Professor, Law
Judge, Laurie Sanderson, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

October 2007: 
Humanities, Robert Scholnick, Professor of English and American Studies
Natural/Computational Sciences, Deborah Steinberg, Professor of Biological Sciences, VIMS
Social Sciences, Matt Liebmann, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Devil’s Advocate, JC Poutsma, Associate Professor of Chemistry
Judge, Laurie Sanderson, Dean of Graduate Studies and Research

February 2007: 
Humanities, Scott Nelson, Associate Professor of History
Natural/Computational Sciences, Deborah Bebout, Professor of Chemistry
Social Sciences, Clay Clemens, Professor of Government
Devil’s Advocate, Emmett Duffy, Professor of Biological Sciences, VIMS
Judge, Hans C. von Baeyer, Chancellor Professor of Physics, Emeritus

October 2005: 
Humanities, Ron Schechter, Associate Professor of History
Natural/Computational Sciences, Hugh Ducklow, Professor of Biological Sciences, VIMS
Social Sciences, Simon Stow, Assistant Professor of Government
Devil’s Advocate, Philip Daileader, Associate Professor of History
Judge, Hans C. von Baeyer, Director of the Graduate Center and Chancellor Professor of Physics

October 2004: 
Humanities, Monica Potkay, Associate Professor of English
Natural/Computational Sciences, John Wells, Dean of the School of Marine Science and Director of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Social Sciences, Joel Schwartz, Director of the Charles Center and Associate Professor of Government
Devil’s Advocate, David Holmes, Professor of Religion
Judge, Hans C. von Baeyer, Director of the Graduate Center and Chancellor Professor of Physics

October 2003: 
Humanities, Jennifer Taylor, Associate Professor of Modern Languages
Natural/Computational Sciences, Chuck Bailey, Associate Professor of Geology
Social Sciences, John Nezlek, Professor of Psychology
Devil’s Advocate, Eric Jensen, Professor of Economics
Judge, Hans C. von Baeyer, Director of the Graduate Center and Chancellor Professor of Physics

October 2002: 
Humanities, Anne Rasmussen, Associate Professor of Music
Natural/Computational Sciences, Robert Welsh, Professor of Physics
Social Sciences, John Nezlek, Professor of Psychology
Devil’s Advocate, Tom Heacox, Associate Professor of English
Judge, Hans C. von Baeyer, Director of the Graduate Center and Chancellor Professor of Physics