Dr. Patterson, for whom the Foundation is named, has devoted his entire career to the instruction of students from all across the country in the field of speech and debate. The Foundation seeks to promote his strong belief that training in public speaking plays a fundamental role in the growth and development of strong leaders across all professions.
Dr. Patterson has received hundreds of testimonials over the years from former students who attest that the training they received in debate, public speaking, and leadership strengthened their communication and persuasive skills and helped better prepare them for their chosen professions. Many of these individuals have attributed their professional success directly to their training in speech and debate.
Dr. Patterson was an instructor in debate and forensics for almost sixty years, including nine years as Director of Debate and Forensics at Muskogee Central High School, Muskogee, Oklahoma; one year as Director of Debate at the University of Arizona, and forty years as Director of Debate and Forensics at the University of Kentucky.
While at Muskogee, he founded the prestigious Little Nationals Debate Tournament, which attracted each year over five hundred debaters from numerous states.
His students won over one hundred tournaments in various debate and speech events, including two National Forensic League Championships in extemporaneous speaking.
During his tenure at Kentucky, Dr. Patterson founded the "Tournament of Champions" as well as the "Kentucky National High School Debate Institute," both of which attracted high school debaters from across the country. He also founded the nationally acclaimed "Henry Clay College Debate Tournament" as well as the unique "Kentucky Thoroughbred Round Robin," which still attracts the top nine college teams in America every October in Lexington, Kentucky.
While at Kentucky, his students won first place at numerous college invitational tournaments throughout the country and both the DSR-TKA and National Debate Tournament National Championships. His debaters also made five final four appearances, including first place in 1986 and captured six top speaker awards at the National Debate Tournament.
Dr. Patterson has been active in various speeches and debate organizations having served on the National Debate Tournament Committee, and with a colleague at Northwestern University, Dr. David Zarefsky, coauthored "Contemporary Debate." He also served several terms as President of the Kentucky Speech Association.
In the 1960s Dr. Patterson served as special assistant to the University of Kentucky President, John Oswald when he directed the University’s 100th birthday, which consisted of over one hundred special events over a yearlong period that included a Founder's Day visit by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
Today Dr. Patterson resides in Lexington, Kentucky with his family. He retired from teaching in 2009 but continues to travel, perform speaking engagements and stay actively involved with speech and debate.
He remains closely tied to many colleagues and dozens of former students from all over the world to whom he devoted his career.
On the Road Again
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The J.W. Patterson Foundation, Inc. is incorporated in the state of Kentucky and is a tax-exempt nonprofit organization as described by 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
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