Dr. Patterson founded the Fellows program in 1987 with the objective to identify twelve of the top rising senior high school debaters in the nation and bring them to study at the Kentucky Institute.
The overriding objective was to enrich the quality of a debate institute peer group while bringing the nation’s top rising seniors in contact with each other to debate, research, and collaborate.
Initially, the Fellows program included only six debaters but was gradually expanded to twelve. They Fellows are identified as the top 12 Debate performers in the country from the previous year.
The Fellows functioned very much like graduate students in a University. They had their own lab part-time but were also dispersed among the various labs as assistant leaders, thus giving all campers a chance to work with some of the best debaters in the country.
From all accounts, the goals were realized for over twenty years. Tracking of the Fellows Program shows that the former champions won many top debate honors including top honors at the "Tournament of Champions" as well as the "Collegiate National Debate Tournament."
Current Director of Debate at the University of Michigan and former University of Kentucky Debater, Aaron Kall, will host The Patterson Fellows Program sponsored by the Patterson Foundation at the University of Michigan Summer Debate Camp in 2023.
Kall reinstated the Program in July 2013 and continued it much as it was when it began at the University of Kentucky, with the Fellows intending to serve both as students and teachers, helping with instruction and acting as mentors to the other participants.
Dr. Patterson's belief in the value of mentoring is consistent with the University of Michigan’s slogan: Leaders & Best.
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