Battle of wits: students took on academics in a great debate to raise funds for the Godfrey Tanner Memorial Scholarship.

Godfrey Tanner Great Debate

Academics dominate two years in a row at the Godfrey Tanner Great Debate

Maturity and wisdom again prevailed with the academics beating the students for the second time at the Godfrey Tanner Great Debate. 120 staff, students and community members turned out to watch the debate in the GT Bar on Callaghan campus on 24 March.

University legend Dr Bernie Curran hosted the fun filled evening, with the debate adjudicated by our Director of Development, Alumni & External Relations, Rebecca Hazell.

The topic which sparked the heated debate this year was: 'To ensure Australia remains globally competitive in an international economy, universities should be able to set their own fees in a deregulated market.'

It was a tough task for the students to argue the merits of deregulation against the theatrical and captivating performance by the academic team in the negative.

GT Great Debate teams

Bravely taking on students was Professor Trevor Waring, Christina Koutsoukas, Paul Scott and John Dugas. Lining up for the Students team for the second time was newly appointed Chair of the UON Student Giving Commitee and engineering student Elyse Hudson. She was joined by Vivak Ravindran and the Bond brothers - Austin and Conrad.

The debate is held annually in honour of the well-known University of Newcastle Classics lecturer and eccentric and champion of students - the late Emeritus Professor Godfrey Tanner.

The debate is also a fundraiser for the Godfrey Tanner Memorial Scholarship, which funds an annual $3,000 scholarship to assist students who are starting their university studies and are facing hardship.

Close personal friend of Godfrey Tanner, Dr Bernie Curran said Godfrey devoted the greater part of his life to the University of Newcastle supporting students.

"Godfrey was incredibly generous to students who had suffered setbacks and challenges. Even though he was a Classics professor, he was explicit in his instruction that the scholarship named after him should be open to students from any discipline.

"No doubt the spirit of the late Godfrey Tanner will be looking down and watching this debate with great satisfaction, as he loved debating. I suspect however, he will be barracking for the students to take out the gold cup this year," Dr Curran said.

To view more photos of the evening, visit the UON Flickr site.

Anyone interested in making a donation to the Godfrey Tanner Memorial Scholarship Fund can call 02 4921 7453 or go to the online donation form.

Dr Bernie Curran hosts the Godfrey Tanner Great Debate - academics v students.