College Policy Debate Forums

DISCUSSION => Open Topic -- Any issue => Topic started by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:08:09 PM

Title: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:08:09 PM
It is with a heavy heart that I start this thread on this forum.  I learned last night from several friends of the passing of Ken Strange.  I have known Ken for more than 30 years.  He has been such a force not only in my life, but throughout the activity as well.  He was voted as one of the top five judges of the 1970s (4), the 1980s (2), the 1990s (2), and the 2000's (2).  He was voted as a top five coach in the 1980s (1), the 1990s (4) and the 2000's (5). Under Ken's direction Dartmouth had a streak of earning at least one first round at large bid and qualifying at least one team for the octafinals of the NDT every year from 1980 through 2009, thirty years.  In addition to his tremendous coaching success, he was a great friend, colleague and boss.  I learned a lot in the two years that I coached at Dartmouth.  I am flooded with so many memories.  I will miss you my friend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:09:36 PM
David Glass


RIP, Ken Strange. Condolences to the Dartmouth debate family, and all who passed through the institute - and all of us really; he was a great friend, mentor and role model.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:10:55 PM
Mike Carlotti


Sad day for the debate community. Ken had an enormous impact on my debate career (so many of our careers...), and thus really everything in my life that has occurred since I joined debate. I was a nobody before the summer I spent with him (and Nicole ❤), and it’s just incredible to reflect on just how big of an impact some people have on your life when the roots run so deeply throughout it all. To Ken and all of my debate mentors (you know who you are): thank you, and I love you. Rest easy, friend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:11:44 PM
Allan Louden

Ken Strange, a true giant among collegiate debate coaches, passed away in Gulfport, MS this week. For all who knew Ken the loss is palatable.

With humor and insight generations of debaters were educated and encouraged. Ken was larger than life in the profession but as important was a kind soul, a good person.

We are grateful that as part of his" phased retirement" Ken spent two coaching seasons at Wake Forest, enriching our Squad and faculty. Ken will be missed most, however, as a valued and lifelong friend.

Photo---One last "Putters" gathering with his Wake Forest coaching family. Our thoughts are with his family and his loyal and large Dartmouth family.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:12:45 PM
Marilyn J. Young

Such sad news. Like so many, gone way too soon.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:13:22 PM
Steven W Simmons

This saddens me to no end. Ken always was so kind and fair to me in the four years he judged me on the circuit and when I was a coach at Wayne State. He had encouraging words when times were tough. As you said, a kind soul.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:14:11 PM
Doug Dennis


RIP Ken.

Damn. This sucks.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:14:48 PM
Paul Derby

Ken was amazing. Truly amazing. One of my absolute favorite people I ever met through debate. He touched a lot of people, me very much included. A life very, very well lived.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:15:12 PM
Matt J Stannard

A good friend has died, one of the kindest people I've ever known, one of the smartest people I've ever known. Rare combination. May all beings everywhere be free from suffering.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:16:40 PM
Jairus Victor Grove


The hardest part of being away from debate is losing people I no longer get to see every weekend. I have been out of the activity for almost ten years and yet I rely on a sense of the world where they are there still judging debates, still inspiring people, still giving someone skeptical glances. On the way to work this morning thinking about Ken I was reminded of this old impact card we all used to read in high school about biodiversity. The metaphor was of a plane losing bolts and never knowing when the bolt lost would cause the plane to come apart and crash. Losing Ken feels like loosing part of reality, a critical bolt in the world we share. One less person that remembers the insecure teenager you were. One less person to share memories with of others we have lost. One less person committed to the idea that education is the most important thing we can devote ourselves to. Ken takes a little of my reality and history with him. What is left though is the incredible community of thinkers and friends he helped create. It is hard to imagine growing up without Alex Berger, Bill Russell, Andrew Leong, Nicole Wanzer-Serrano, Adam Garen, Robbie Ashe, John Turner and many many others at Dartmouth. I owe Ken a debt for those friendships and those experiences. If Valhalla exists for those of us that hope to spend eternity arguing one can only hope that the panel of Deatherage, Smith, and Strange is sitting down at the table ready to judge. Ken Strange, I will miss you.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:17:28 PM
John M. Bredehoft

I would gladly debate for my eternal soul before the panel of Smith, Strange, and Detherage (although I am too old to have been judged by any of them except Ken). This is a wonderful tribute, Jarius, and I am terribly saddened.

I debated against Ross in Round Eight of the 1978 NDT at Metropolitan State in Denver, with his partner Johnny Graham. Seem to remember debating against Duck a few times (and Ross with and without Johnny G several times). Ken's passing is immensely felt. We are all getting old, and I occasionally yearn to "get the band back together" with NDT debaters from 1975-85 or something. Will never happen, but missing Ken over the past few years leaves an ache in my heart.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:19:49 PM
Charles Olney


My entire feed right now is just everyone talking about how much they loved Ken. He was an all-time great, and I'm proud and incredibly lucky to have been able to call him my friend and colleague.

RIP Boss. We're all going to miss you. I hope they got the memo about keeping the rooms together for you up there.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:21:57 PM
Christopher Wheatley


We are all going to miss this guy SO much! The world may be a little less curious, not as nice and definitely not as smart without this man. We have lost another giant in the debate community.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:22:33 PM
David Thomas

So sorry to hear of his death. I knew him as a kind and decent man as well as a titan of a debate coach.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:23:05 PM
Steven Dolley

That really sucks. Fare thee well Ken. Man, the stories...
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:23:32 PM
Scott Forster

Without a doubt on the Mount Rushmore of debate.

Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:24:27 PM
Shree Awsare


RIP Ken Strange - a legend. Always will remember his seminar on T - "it always comes back to limits!"
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:25:01 PM
Craig Budner

One great mentor. Ken Strange. Rest In Peace good man.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:25:29 PM
Lyn Robbins

Craig, I had not heard. So sorry for your loss, for Dartmouth's loss, for the debate community's loss, for all of our loss. Ken was unique. He was of course a rival, yet he was always nothing but respectful and gracious. He was in many ways the best of us. He will be missed.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:27:10 PM
Craig Budner

Thanks, Scott. No arrangements yet. Probably a memorial service this summer TBD including location. Only small funeral with family. We will post on FB so folks now about it.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:32:53 PM
Blake Johnson


RIP Ken Strange. College debate hangs up the gloves of a real legend today. ❤️❤️ my love to his many families—at Dartmouth, Wake Forest, in Oklahoma, and elsewhere.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:34:08 PM
Les Phillips

This one hurts. A brilliant man and a great gentleman.

Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:35:19 PM
Blake Johnson

Les Phillips it feels like I graduated yesterday. It’s so hard for me to comprehend that Scott, Ross, and Ken are all gone.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:37:04 PM
Wake Debate

We are devastated to learn the news that Ken Strange has passed away. Our thoughts go out to both his family and his broader Dartmouth debate family. We were incredibly luckily that Ken chose to spend two years with Wake Debate after retiring from Dartmouth. He wanted to listen to any speech from any debater that was well prepared; he made our whole squad better debaters and people. His time in Winston Salem was full of amazing coaching, fantastic cards, and so many stories. We look forward to celebrating the life and legacy of this first ballot hall of fame coach and judge. We will miss you Ken.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:37:55 PM
Mike Wascher


I’m reading that we lost Ken Strange. My memories go back to when Ken coached Augustana and I debated for Bradley. It was great to reconnect with Ken when I returned in 2000. We’ve lost a wonderful human being and a great coach
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:38:44 PM
James Edward


Soon there will be no giants left
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:39:28 PM
David Marks


I love you, Ken. It’s hard to imagine a world without your gravitational pull. So many of us would keep coming together, decades after we graduated —- rotating in common orbit and sometimes crashing in to each other, but always circling around the foundational, shared connection we each felt we had with you. From weddings to fantasy football, you made us feel important, valued and capable of more. Thank you for pushing me, for caring about me, and showing me that every teammate matters and deserves time and attention —- and that it simply doesn’t matter how many rounds you’ve won or lost or who you’re facing next, because you’re still expected to try hard in the next one. That life skill, and relentless attitude, got me through some of the more difficult times on my life over the last 15 years. I don’t know anyone else who has had such a powerful, direct and positive impact on so many of my closest friends, family and community. You were a world builder. Thank you.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:40:25 PM
Jason Sykes

Ken Strange was amazing. His commitment to kindness and debate education extended well beyond Hanover. My heart aches for the Dartmouth Debate family.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:42:00 PM
Martin Osborn


Ken Strange invented prep time. He told me the story himself at the 2014 NDT.

RIP to a legend of debate -- one of the intellectual and dedicated greats, he also made me feel welcome and helped me believe in myself with zero incentive to do so. rarer than realized, in retrospect. reflections of people like him are what hold it all together.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:42:30 PM
Tracy McFarland


We should all strive to coach our debaters with the kind of investment and authenticity that generates the lifelong relationships and influence Ken Strange has with his debaters.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:44:59 PM
Brian Rubaie


Rest in peace Ken ❤ One of the greatest thinkers and people I have ever known.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:45:28 PM
Jackie Poapst


Ken Strange always made me feel welcome at every tournament he was at. He will be missed!!!
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:46:18 PM
Matt Gerber


I had the honor and privilege to judge on a panel with Ken Strange at the Binghamton NDT a couple of years ago. It was wonderful to catch up with him, but even more awesome to see his debate intellect on full display. He was always very kind and helpful to us when we debated at Southeast Oklahoma in the 90s, Ken having Oklahoma debate ties himself. I'm sorry to see him go, and my heart goes out to his family, friends, and many former students and colleagues in the debate activity. Rest in peace coach.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:47:38 PM
Joe Bellon


Ken Strange recently passed away. For those of you who didn't know Ken, he was the long-time debate coach at Dartmouth. For almost my entire debate career, Ken was Dartmouth debate. I met him my first year in college, when I was desperately trying to catch up to my colleagues -- still unsure of myself and largely confused about the activity. At that time, Dartmouth was a dominant power in debate, and I saw Ken as fiercely competitive and a little scary. Over the years, he seemed to mellow out to me, becoming one of the kindest people I knew in an activity that has far too little kindness. When Ken retired, I started thinking about my early perceptions of him. I wondered if it was just my own inexperience and confusion that made Ken seem like such a challenging figure. As I look back on it, I remember many times in my own career that Ken was funny and kind, and I now understand that it was me who was doing the changing. I'm thankful to Ken for his friendship and for the literally countless contributions he made for debate. Those of us who spent time in the coaching ranks can only hope to be remembered with as much love as Ken Strange.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:48:20 PM
Paul Derby


My thoughts are with the Dartmouth Debate community and the countless people who were so greatly benefitted by knowing Ken Strange. My experiences with Ken, learning from him at DDI, working with him there too, coaching against him, debating against his teams, and considering him a true friend, all made a huge impact and changed my life for the better in countless ways. If there is a heaven, he was undoubtedly in the precheck line.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:49:23 PM
J.W. Patterson

Our fond memories of Ken are ever lasting. Mine go back to Harding High School in the sixties
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:49:45 PM
Leeann Hutson Solice

I learned so much from Ken in my time with DDI. I've seldom known such an amazing combination of brilliant mind and warm heart.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:50:43 PM
Edward Swaine

Thank you, Sherry. He was a kind and decent man who will be missed by many. RIP.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:51:19 PM
Tara Tate Carr


Ken Strange made everyone around him feel important, relevant and worthy. The world needs much more of this.

Sending thoughts of peace and strength to the Dartmouth Debate and Wake Forest Debate families. My heart is heavy thinking about the grief you are enduring.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:52:44 PM
Elyse Conklin

i have so many good ken stories to tell at some point, but this sums it up nicely. i only had 2 years at wake and i can’t explain how lucky i feel that they overlapped with the legendary and wonderful ken strange
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:53:29 PM
Travis Cram


Wow Ken... I would kill to hear your booming voice during an RFD again, as you got on your feet and prepared to hold seminar for the next 20 minutes. You were an amazing voice and perspective in policy debate, and you never treated anyone as if they were beneath your level of intellect and accomplishments and not worth your time. This kid from Wyoming never forgot that.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:54:17 PM
Brian Prestes


Condolences to all of my Dartmouth Debate friends.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:55:11 PM
Charles Anthony

RIP Ken Strange! I will always be greatful for how you helped refine my 2ncs/2nrs, line by line skills, teaching me how to go for T properly & I’ll forever have the image of you chain smoking cigs before flights to tournaments, falling asleep (adorably) in the squad room, and directing the DDI in my mind. Also those cards for Corinne’s 1nrs were 🔥🔥 #GoDeacs
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 05:56:46 PM
Eric Lanning


Ken Strange was a legend and it's impossible to imagine debate without him. I'm grateful for the kindness he showed me and advice he gave me over and over again throughout the course of my debate career. I'm sending all of my love to his Dartmouth debate family and everyone in the community who is mourning this loss.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:25:38 PM
Dartmouth Forensic Union

It is with a heavy heart that I write to mourn the passing of Ken Strange, the Director of the DFU from 1980-2015.
For hundreds of DFU alumni, thousands of students at the DDI, and the entire college debate community, Ken left an indelible legacy as a legendary coach, unparalleled teacher, and dear friend.
We invite you to share reflections and stories of Ken’s life and legacy.
Ken dedicated his life to improving the arguments and character of all those around him. His wisdom, passion, and dedication inspired countless people, yet he remained humble and self-effacing to a fault.
Ken’s coaching achievements with the DFU included winning three National Debate Tournament Championships, five NDT 2nd places, and nine NDT 3rd places. His peers selected him the coach of the decade for the 1980s. In a coaching feat that may never be equaled, Dartmouth won at least one elimination round at the NDT every year from 1980-2009.
Ken also cared deeply about students on other teams. He gave his utmost to judging thoughtfully and thoroughly. He was selected as a one of the top five judges in the nation for the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
Ken’s research was consummate and exemplary in every way. He had a process for every step of constructing an argument. Even more than teaching his debaters what they needed to win, he taught all of us how to think. If the third hour of a pre-NDT meeting on a single argument could make a difference, it was worth everyone’s attention.
Nearly every DFU alum has, at some point, attempted a Ken impression. Even Ken had an impression of everyone else’s Ken impression – reserved for observing “You all [even deeper than usual intonation] make me sound ridiculous.” He was right that we were all imitating someone who was, ultimately, inimitable. Perhaps we all know that any part of emulating Ken we can get right adds to the wisdom, joy, and excellence that stand as his legacy.
I showed up to Dartmouth as a student in 1999 without a clue about college debate and a couple years of experience on a local circuit. I thought there would be try-outs that might prevent me from debating at Dartmouth. Instead, Ken welcomed me to the team, listened to terrible practice debates, and helped me work on small assignments to get a handle on an unfamiliar world. As long as you cared, Ken cared about you. I came to college hoping to become a teacher. It was Ken who taught me how to teach and what to teach.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:26:33 PM
Ed Williams

Ken was a debate giant with a big heart. I learned so much about being a coach by watching him during my many summers at DDI. He made me a better coach. Today we not only loss a beautiful person, we loss a debate library full of knowledge.

Rest well my friend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:27:16 PM
Becca Rose Atchison


There isn't a single one of us in the college debate community in the past 30 something years that didn't know, cherish, and respect Ken Strange. I will never forget how he made me feel like I belonged and had potential... even in the earliest days when I wasn't sure if I was cut out for it. And good grief, I can't even count the number of times I lost rounds to the teams he coached. His storied legacy of success is incredible.

Very sad to hear that we've lost Ken, and sending love to all of my friends from Dartmouth debate who loved him the same way that we at Wake Forest loved our Ross. We were lucky to have Ken here in Winston with us for a couple years recently. What a loss. Rest in peace, Ken.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:27:39 PM
David Cram Helwich

Ken is the GOAT. Ken was also one of the kindest and most patient people I have ever met in debate. He will almost certainly be remembered more strongly as the latter than the former, which is as it should be.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:28:07 PM
Adam Clinton

My first introduction to Ken Strange:
Sophomore year (1996) at the NDT debating on the NEG against a James Madison team with Ken Strange, Scott Deatherage, and Heidi Hamilton. Winds up being a 2-1, with Deatherage voting aff. When Ken has given about half his RFD, Scott starts asking him questions about it, then it basically turned into lab time in the Strange/Deatherage lab, with them arguing about all manner of arguments and perspectives and theories. No kidding, they were hashing this out for an hour. Sean Harris, Becky Galentine, and myself were just in awe the whole time.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:29:05 PM
Amber Kelsie


Much of what I've learned of what it means to be a good coach, I learned from Ken. He would say he didn't understand what we were doing when we ran kritiks or performed, but he supported us doing it. When the PRL threatened me and my students, the first person I called was Ken. He told me he'd never agree to what they were up to, would never support a break in the merger, and said that he knew what I was doing was good work worth advocating for. Lol he also got a good kick out of back messaging me the bullshit people would send his way. Love ya Ken, thanks for teaching me that T is about limits, that you don't have a god given right to your god awful argument, and what it means to be passionate about what we do.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:29:44 PM
David Wallace Eastwood

RIP Ken Strange. Thank you to everyone sharing thoughts & memories. Love to all my friends hurting out there.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:32:31 PM
Joel Rollins

RIP Ken Strange. Wonderful teacher.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:32:55 PM
Mark Kelsey

Oh, no. Damn. He was an all-around wonderful guy.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:33:16 PM
Joshua Zive

Best judge in the country over the course of decades.One of the best argument coaches ever. Judged and taught novices and bid teams with the same commitment and effort. And I never once saw him treat other teams, coaches, or judges poorly. I can't think of anyone else I could say all of those things about.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:33:40 PM
John M. Bredehoft

I agree with everything Joshua Zive says. He was not only brilliant, but kind, and classy. As a debater, I always loved to see him in the back of the room. (Although he made a bad decision in the final round of the 1979 NDT, Donald Dripps, I did ultimately forgive him.) And after I finished debating, as a semi-coach and hanger on, I always loved to see him at a tournament. So saddened.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:34:00 PM
Casey Anderson

Hard to imagine a debate community without Ken Strange.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:34:23 PM
Jane Boyd

My heart is broken. I will never forget at TOC when he literally sat down at my feet and we talked for a couple of hours. He cared about people and I considered him a good friend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:34:40 PM
Michael Alberty

What horrible news. After years of competing against his teams and having him as a judge, it was an honor to get to know him a bit better while working at two DDIs in the mid-1980s. After the 1981 final round decision was announced he was gracious enough to shake my mind while asking "best two out of three?" He was one of the best.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:35:03 PM
Charles Blanchard

Very saddened to hear this. My deepest condolences to his family, many friends, and the many others he helped in his life.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:35:31 PM
Ron Stevenson

Very sad to hear this. RIP Ken - you were one of the all around best coach/judge/people in debate.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:35:50 PM
Steven Dolley

I am so terribly sorry to hear this. One of my favorite judges ever and a great guy. Condolences to his family and many friends, students, and colleagues.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:36:12 PM
Karrie Schwartz

So sad to hear this. Rest In Peace. He will be remembered well.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:36:35 PM
Jonathan McCartney

What a loss. Ken was tremendous. He was a great teacher, and a terrific Coach and Judge. He was a Titan in the community long before I ever had the opportunity to meet him for the first time 23 years ago. I was fortunate to be in his lab summer of 1997, and fortunate again when he graciously offered me a summer job at Dartmouth’s debate camp after college. I felt honored to have one of my first jobs after college be working for a Legend.

Above all those things, Ken was particularly kind. He could be funny but still be kind. It was beautiful to witness.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:36:56 PM
Pam Bowman

Ken changed my life. He was incredibly supportive of me in college (and afterwards). His friendly smile and kindness is something I will never forget.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:38:22 PM
Jasmine Stidham


RIP Ken Strange, he was a real one.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:38:44 PM
Brian Shah-DeLong


Pour one out for Ken. A legend and friend. Thanks for everything.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:40:05 PM
Nae Edwards


RIP Ken Strange didn’t know him personally but i know his importance to Wake Debate history. Go Deacs ❤️
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:44:37 PM
Lynne Coyne


NO. NO. No!!! I cannot take more this week. RIP Ken Strange. For me you will always be my 3rd father in law. May the angels guide you on your way.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:45:11 PM
Neil W. Blackmon


RIP Ken Strange. The world is dimmer tonight.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:46:07 PM
Alyssa Corrigan

I will never forget what it was like to be on a panel w Ken, have him sit, and then still make you go first so he can roast you about why he was right to sit. Only true legends can do that, which he was. RIP Ken, you will be missed.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:48:49 PM
Marcia Tiersky

I am saddened to learn of the passing of Ken Strange, a true giant of the debate community. I have no doubt that he, Duck, and Ross will be watching over CEDA Nats this weekend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:52:40 PM
From David Baker:


    John Turner has graciously offered to help with the memorial gift fund.  John says all gifts should be assigned to “The Dartmouth Forensic Union in memory of Ken Strange.”  For processing reasons, it is important to include “in memory of…” in the gift designation.  You may make a gift with your credit card by calling 603-646-0098.  Please mail gifts to:

 

Dartmouth College

Gift Recording Office

6066 Development Office

Hanover, NH 03753
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 06:55:11 PM
David Baker
   
Thu, Apr 4, 11:07 PM (21 hours ago)
   
Friends,

 

I am sorry to relay the sad news that Ken Strange passed away today in Gulfport, Mississippi.  Kay Strange (Ken’s sister) called us a few hours ago.  All of you know that Ken had heart surgery a few years ago.  He also had a bad fall last year that resulted in additional surgery and an extended stay at a rehab center here in Dallas.  You will not be surprised to learn that he insisted on returning to the casinos of Gulfport immediately after he was released.     

 

Kay assures me that Ken’s body is being well-tended and she will be traveling to Gulfport next week to arrange his return to Oklahoma City.  Kay said the immediate family will hold a graveside service sometime next week or the week after.  Some time ago, Ken told Kay that, when he passed, he wanted any memorial gifts to be sent to Dartmouth College.  She does not know the name of the fund, but I will find out, and I will forward that information to this list.

 

Within a few months, there will be a memorial service celebrating Ken’s life.  Everyone is invited and encouraged to attend.  I will forward details as I have them.  In all our planning, we will defer to Kay’s wishes.  Please encourage others who should be on this email list to contact me.

 

There is nothing I can say about Ken that you do not already know or feel.  Peace to all.  More information about the memorial service will follow soon.

 

My best,

 

David

 

David Baker
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:05:04 PM
Mark Kelsey


This is just for my friends from the debate community who might have missed this sad news: one of the brightest stars in our constellation was extinguished this week. . .Dr. Ken Strange, Director of Debate at Dartmouth College for as long as anyone can remember, a top-shelf gentleman in every respect, and one of the most respected coaches and critics of argument in the lifetime of anyone reading this. He had a unique talent for making everyone feel included, respected, and ultimately better for having known him. RIP, Ken.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:07:09 PM
Elijah Smith


#RIP to Ken Strange. Was really honored to work with him for a short time at Wake Forest. An afternoon in the squad room with Ken was like a week at debate camp for grownups. He was one of the greats. #godeacs
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:09:03 PM
Brad Meloche


RIP Ken Strange. Definitely a giant of the activity. 😞
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:12:54 PM
Khalil Lee


It was a pleasure and an honor to work with a Titan in Debate like Ken Strange. Even more so to be so readily defeated in beer pong by him on numerous occasions. I know many will remember him fondly and I count myself fortunate to share those same memories. Friendship improves happiness and abates misery, by the doubling of our joy, and the division of our grief. Rest easy gentle giant.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:16:26 PM
Allan Louden

Richard, Yes Northwestern, his partner in winning Wake Forest Tournament (1969) was Steve Gunderson, defeating Syracuse. The picture of young Ken is priceless.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:17:03 PM
Randy Shaver

So sorry to hear this news. What an impact on so many generations of debaters.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:17:37 PM
Rick Cherwitz


I am profoundly saddened to learn that Ken Strange passed away Friday. Ken was a friend and my debate coach at the University of Iowa. In addition, he made my first year as a graduate student easier by sharing his class notes and research papers. Ken was one the nation’s premiere debate coaches, having served as director of forensics at Dartmouth for over 30 years. He was also an outstanding debater under the tutelage of my friend and distinguished rhetoric scholar David Zarefsky at Northwestern University. What an incredible loss to the forensics community. Thanks to Craig Budner for a more recent picture of Ken (far left in 2nd photo)
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:18:42 PM
Tim Hynes

 I can’t even begin to express how much we have lost with the passing of my friend
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:19:15 PM
Karla Leeper

A really good man. He will be missed.
 
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:19:53 PM
Dale Hample

 Ken and I coached schools about 50 miles apart for several years and it seemed like I saw him every weekend. He leaves a fine legacy and I'm sad he's gone.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:20:26 PM
Erik Holland

So sad. I was in Ken's lab at the Dartmouth Debate Institute and he judged me a handful of times over the years. A brilliant mind and very nice guy. Big loss for the debate community.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:20:51 PM
Mary Alice Baker

Sorry to hear this. Condolences to his family and friends. I knew him as an outstanding Oklahoma HS debater from my early coaching days and a championship debater on the collegiate circuit.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 07:21:59 PM
Dan Stanfield


I only had a few interactions with Ken Strange, but the most memorable was at the Kentucky tournament the last year I was working with UWG.

I was sitting outside the main competition building on the area overlooking the street and Ken comes up right next to me and without missing a beat, just says "Dan, what the hell are you doing with your life!" This ended up being his pitch for me to go get my MA degree at Wake. To this day it remains the most compelling recruitment pitch I have ever received.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 09:38:27 PM
Christopher Robins

Ken was always so kind to me. He made me, a thoroughly mediocre debater, feel like I belonged.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 09:38:59 PM
Matt Schnall

Lots of good memories of Ken today: debates he judged; chatting with him at tournaments; working at DDI in the early 90s; and then visiting him there when my daughter was a camper in 2011 and 2012
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 09:39:45 PM
Ouita Michel

One summer long ago I was going to teach a lab at Dartmouth’s summer work shop. The young man I was supposed to teach with backed out- and broke my heart. Ken called to tell me- but softened the blow by taking me as his lab partner. We had so much fun that we taught together for three years. He was that kind of person- brilliant but thoughtful and fun. Sherry- your comments are wonderful. Ken influenced not only his own debaters but everyone in the debate community.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 09:42:11 PM
Les Phillips


Everyone in the debate community is posting about the death of Ken Strange. To friends of mine not in the debate community, or very young debate friends: one of the most generous, most successful, most ethical debate *teachers* has passed. Ken was brilliant in many ways, but never more brilliant than as an explicator. He was a grand eminence in the debate world, and he knew what he was worth, but he never behaved as though he were better than anyone else. God knows he proved that kindness and "education" are quite consistent with overpowering competitive success. I was very lucky to work with him, however peripherally, for ten Dartmouth summers. If we in debate tried a little harder to be like Ken, we would make our professional community (and the world) a better place.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 09:42:33 PM
Wendy Bozzolasco

Omg. My heart is broken. Ken was an amazing person.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 09:43:26 PM
Dwight Codr

I’ve been out of the debate world for almost 20 years now, but when I reflect on my time there, about 10-15 people always come to mind, and Ken is one of them. He shapes my memory of debate as simultaneously rigorous and genial. I’m grateful for this tribute, Les Phillips, and for the chance to share my fondness for him.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 09:44:15 PM
Matt Anderson

His legacy and his excellence, more than success or insight, was his character. He was a very good man, eager to invest in others. A giant, not for accomplishments that will be remembered generations hence, but for how he lived his days and for the lives he shaped, and the effects those lives will continue to have on others. We would all be fortunate to be as well remembered.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 09:45:36 PM
Anjali Vats


My FB wall is filled with immense love for Ken Strange. He impacted so many people. He wasn't my coach or my friend but goddamn, I learned so much from him. Hell, I met a person at this conference that knew and remembered him from back in 1992--my first conversation with a perfect stranger involved talking about this coach that influenced us both. Draw straws in academia and you'll find someone that will speak of Ken fondly. I've never heard anyone say an unkind word about that man, in 20 years. Tonight, it's clear from the memories that people from across the argument spectrum have posted that they loved him back. I hope we can find and support more people like him, for the sake of debate and the sanity of the world. RIP, Ken and thank you so, so much for all you taught us.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 09:47:14 PM
Mike Davis


One more story I love that lets you know how memorable Ken Strange was.

I was working the polls at the election a few years ago and I was talking to the guy next to me and let him know I was the debate coach at JMU.

He said he did not know much about debate, but that during college orientation he met a debater who’s presence stuck with him years later. He said he had all if these index cards laid out on the study room table and had this unforgettable booming voice. That was what he imagined a college debater was like even four decades later.

That first year debater’s name was Ken Strange.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 05, 2019, 09:51:04 PM
Sonja Starr

I am heartbroken to hear of the passing of Ken Strange, a giant in the college debate world (and indeed, also a giant to generations of high school debaters who attended the summer institutes he ran for decades). Ken was my boss in my first job out of college, a job so great I couldn't quite give it up even after moving on to law school, and continued to travel with his team for the next few years. What a privilege it was to learn from him and to become his friend--like everyone else (whose Facebook reminiscences I have been devouring with appreciation), I am flooded with memories. My heart goes out to the many members of the large family of Dartmouth debaters, as well as all of you in Ken's broader debate family.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:07:20 AM
Steve Mancuso


For 30 years, Ken Strange was my mentor, colleague, friend and confidant. From advice about where to go to grad school, to how to write the college debate topic, Ken was generous and wise with his counsel.

I’ll add my voice to the chorus – Ken was beloved by his students, and cherished by the college debate community. Rightly so on both counts.

Many people have expressed Ken’s wonderful personal qualities. And I’m sure those are the attributes for which he’d want to be recognized.

But the small part of Ken Strange’s story I’d like to tell is about his profound positive impact on the activity of college debate. I can only offer my opinion for the years 1980-2010. But during that time, Ken was not only the single best debate coach in the country, he had the greatest influence on our practice.

It speaks volumes that what we came to take for granted as how to run a successful debate program can be traced to Ken’s Dartmouth of the 1980s. The emphasis on quality of evidence, on depth of research, on adapting and changing strategies from round to round – that all was driven, in large part, by the template Ken established.

Ken’s early Dartmouth teams - made up of fantastically talented and committed students - were successful because they featured brilliant coaching, ethical behavior, hard work and tremendous research.

The reason I’m emphasizing Ken’s early Dartmouth years is not to detract from his dedicated teams in the 1990s or later. But by that time, we’d all copied him, or at least were trying to. When we restarted the Michigan program in 1985, our model was Dartmouth. If he were here, Scott Deatherage would say the same thing about his Northwestern program. Same with Ross and Wake Forest. Anyone who subsequently tried to emulate Northwestern or Wake Forest was really copying Dartmouth.

It’s not that other schools had never had success on their own terms – obviously they did. But as debate moved through the 80s and 90s, with few exceptions, programs best able to emulate Ken’s Dartmouth program were most successful.

Hard-work, never-ending research, detailed strategies, ethical practices. Notice how those qualities line up with the valuable “portable skills” that debate has taught us.

Another thing that impressed me about the way Ken coached was how he always knew more than anyone else about what teams argued. He judged his share of debates, but when he wasn’t judging, Ken would watch other rounds. When I coached for him at Dartmouth (’82-’83) we had a squad of nearly full-time debaters. I was a full-time card-cutting assistant. It was an office of fanatics, who spent many, many hours every day working together. Yet Ken knew more than any of us about the topic and what other teams were doing. That was trailblazing for a head debate coach. But we directors later tried to emulate him.

If you still have a doubt about Ken’s profound impact on college debate, know that he was the first person who brought extra workers to the National Debate Tournament. It started with asking a few alums to come back on their own nickel to help, which they happily did. He also asked those alums, and others who couldn’t attend, to do assignments for the NDT, valuable help they took great pride in providing. Ken did this in 1981, 1982, 1983. We all ended up copying that, as best as we could.

The year after college I spent at Dartmouth coaching for Ken, aside from the sub-zero temperatures, was glorious. One thing I’ll never forget is going to the Dartmouth golf course with him. Ken loved golf and he treasured that course.

You may not know this about Ken, but he enjoyed making a wager now and again.

After we’d finish golfing, it was regular practice with him to sit in the clubhouse overlooking the 18th green, drink an adult beverage and bet on how many strokes it would take golfers to get their ball from the 18th fairway into the cup.

I haven’t seen Ken much in the past ten years, although we stayed in touch a bit. The heartbreaking news last night that he had died didn’t trigger a sense of loss like it would have if it had happened a while ago. But it did make me reflect on the positive and life-long impact he’d had on a huge chunk of my life and my gratitude for it.

Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:08:07 AM
Gary Padgett

Eloquent and genuine. Ken was a man who had a consequential impact on debate and more importantly the lives of many people. The honor of his achievements will live on in the many people whose lives he touched.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:08:43 AM
Daryl Burch

It saddens my heart reading these words and at the same time I could not have said it better. I miss Ken Strange already. Glad I spent time with him through the years. #ripken
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:09:27 AM
Scott Segal

Terrific tribute Steve. So vivid to me. I have many fond memories of Ken. When I debated, he was the person I wanted to see judging and the person I wanted to chat with for advice, intelligence, and good humor. When I coached, well, exactly the same. And as an alum serving in various capacities, come to think of it, exactly the same. He was the best of us all.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:10:18 AM
John Q. Barrett

Thanks, Steve, and condolences to you and all. Ken was a great rival, teacher, judge, mind, friend, and fun person.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:10:47 AM
Alan Coverstone

All true and powerfully said. Ken’s impact on us all is impossible to overstate. And in it all, he was kind, helpful, and fun. Condolences to all who were affected by him.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:11:25 AM
Kevin Hamrick

Ken was Duck’s role model and Dartmouth was the benchmark by which we judged ourselves in the early 90s in Evanston. Hell, even Zarefsky got in on the act. I can remember Z, then Dean of the School of Communication, asking me in the fall of 1992 “how do you think our freshmen debaters compare to those, say, at Dartmouth?” Sean McCaffity Joseph Terry Christopher Cotropia Mason Miller
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:12:41 AM
Kathryn Kernoff


Missing Ken so much tonight. He was so much more than a debate coach - an idol, an inspiration, a mentor, and a friend. His long and successful debate career began with index cards and ended in the era of paperless. He continued actively cutting cards, critiquing speeches, and driving argument innovation the entire time. He inspired a team culture of hard work and loyalty and made the DFU not just a squad room but a family and a home. It's no accident that produced generations of close friendships and marriages, including my own. Miss you Ken, and I can still hear you telling me this post needs LABELS and HARD NUMBERING.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:13:17 AM
David Glass


Each of the many years that I coached high school debate, Ken would reach out, and ask about my team. We'd discuss the various students and inevitably he'd get to this: "so, who are you sending me this summer?" The answer would always be, "how many can you take?" He'd laugh and we'd figure out which lab would be the best fit for each kid who wanted to go to Dartmouth. He wanted to hear the strengths and weaknesses of each student, so he could understand how best to serve their needs, and so he could give the prospective lab leaders a head's up. As for the students we coached in common who ended up being Dartmouth debaters, most of our conversations would center on those kids - how they were coming along. ...We hadn't seen each other in several years; when he was in Cambridge a few years ago, Ara and I took him to Salts before it closed. Twenty years peeled away very quickly. The thing about long time debate coaches is that the common experience is the students - they're the focus. Ken built families around them, both through his college teams, and through the summer institute. He was a great coach and person. Very sad to see him go; he definitely left a great legacy.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:14:37 AM
Glen Strickland


I am so sad to learn of the death of my good friend and great debate coach Ken Strange. We were both from Oklahoma and coached debate at the college level. Ken coached at the great Dartmouth University for at least 30 years. He was a wonderful person and will be missed.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:15:18 AM
Michael Klinger


Seeing Ken Strange at debate tournaments always made me smile. What a tragic loss. RIP.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:15:55 AM
Stefan Bauschard


It will be 30 years next fall since I attended my first college debate tournament at the University of Kentucky.

I’m note sure when I first crossed paths with Ken Strange after that, but I do remember that Ken always approached judging a debate I was in regardless of the significance of the debate relative to the bracket or the opponent. Ken was always interested in what was being debated about and offered helpful advice to everyone.

When I started coaching and judging, Ken would often come by the debates to hear the decision and talk about the arguments. Whether I voted for or against his team (and there were many more Ws than Ls), Ken was always interested in discussing the arguments and ideas in the debates I judged. And he always just seemed happy to talk about the arguments, not even so much caring about, “how to do better next time,” “could have said this more clearly, “or “do you really not thing the card says X.” He loved discussing the arguments and how they played out. It was as much a genuine academic interest as a competitive one.

And when I either judged with Ken on a panel or listened to a panel of decisions where he was one of the judges, he was always respectful to those who disagreed and was always very interested in what everyone had to say. He seemed to genuinely enjoy discussing the debate and how all of the judges resolved the arguments.

When I first started coaching at Boston College and our teams became more competitive, Ken always found a way to offer some advice for important debates we had. He knew when a win would be a big one for us and always offered support.

One final and specific memory of Ken I have is from old “flame wars “ on the old edebate, which I embarrassingly often participated in. At the time, I do remember a thread about the inequality produced by produced by high summer camp costs. Unsurprisingly, Ken never contributed to the “flaming” part of the discussion, but he’d sometimes drop in a good point. I don’t remember all of the details, but I remember him posting about his own background and how a lot of time at camp was not an option for him, but through hard work over the summer he had managed to learn a lot of what others learned in camp during the summer. Years later, when I was complaining about “K” debating he said, something along the lines of, “We’ll, if the students want to read the material and work on the arguments, I’ll work on them with them.” Ken simply admired those who worked hard in debate, regardless of what arguments they ran, and he always had time and interest for anyone who put in the work.

Good arguments. Good ideas. Respect. Kindness. Hard work.

Condolences to everyone from Dartmouth and those associated who knew him well.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:16:30 AM
Dylan Quigley


Ken Strange saved my life. I don’t know what else to say; without him walking up out of the blue and offering me a job at Dartmouth in the middle of CEDA that year, my life would be unthinkably different. I simply have no idea where I’d be or what I’d do. I would never have met my fiancée, I wouldn’t have gone to law school, I wouldn’t have been blessed to be a small part of Ken’s life. Heaven is highway Lou’s (when you could still smoke) and Ken will always be there.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:17:04 AM
Michael Burshteyn


RIP Ken. He believed in us more than we believed in ourselves and, as a lab leader, judge, or just friendly face in the hallway, Ken never stopped pushing us to be better. And it worked. He inspired and made a lasting impression on me and so many friends. One of my proudest moments was getting to judge alongside him a few years back, and when he told me my decision didn't suck.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:17:26 AM
Randy Luskey

“He believed in us more than we believed in ourselves.” Great quote. Couldn’t have said it better myself. He welcomed me to the college debate community with open arms even when I didn’t think I belonged. Even when we were engaged in fierce battles with his own teams, he took time out to make me a better debater.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:17:58 AM
David Hung


It's hard to express how much of an impact Ken had on me as a lab leader, a coach, a boss, a father figure, a food lover, and a degenerate gambler (in the best sense of the word). My sadness is tempered by countless happy memories of the legend that I had the privilege of calling my friend. Here's how I'll always remember him - full of joy and good humor, his unmistakable jolly bellow usually accompanied by that equally unforgettable high pitched cackle. Rest in peace, Coach.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:19:12 AM
Keegan Tomik


One of the first things Ken did after I go to Hanover was take me out to a nice dinner. Then, the next day he took me out to get twin lobsters and took the time to explain and show me how to actually eat lobster. I'm curious now how many different Midwestern kids/fresh grads he has done this for. Ken was a lot kinder and a lot more understanding than I deserved at the time. The community has lost one of it's all time greats.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:21:38 AM
Ed Williams

Ken was a debate giant with a big heart. I learned so much about being a coach by watching him during my many summers at DDI. He made me a better coach. Today we not only loss a beautiful person, we loss a debate library full of knowledge.

Rest well my friend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:21:56 AM
Chris Crowe

Margaritas “Mexican” Restaurant is a terrible restaurant, but Ken loved taking us there. I would go and power through the food because that restaurant made Ken happy, and I wanted to be around Ken as much as possible.

Ken became such an important and critical mentor to me over the last 10 years. I thought I had learned just about all I was going to get out of debate before I spent serious time with Ken. He proved me wrong and then some.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:22:34 AM
Lyn Robbins

With all due respect to my friends who were great debaters and great competitors from KU, Redlands, Northwestern, Kentucky, Emory, UNC, Georgetown, Harvard, and many other schools, there is no question that our biggest rival back in the day was Dartmouth. Planning to debate the great teams of the great Ken Strange was a unique challenge and made what we do that much more worthwhile. It was Lenny and Mark, Karen and Melody, Karen and Erik, Erik and Chrissy, Chrissy and Bud, and Shaun and Rob ... but it was always Ken. Every year of my career but one, my last debate was against Dartmouth, and in that one year, Dart was the next to last debate. All split decisions decided by a single ballot. There was nothing like debating against Ken Strange teams. He was never anything to me but gracious, respectful, and classy. I never considered him “the enemy,” for he embodied the “worthy opposition.” He recruited the best debaters, he coached the best arguments, and he was a great judge. He made a competitive, wearing grind a whole lot better for all of us. I never had the opportunity to be coached by him... but from my view in the opposing dugout, he was the best. RIP.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:22:59 AM
Joshua Gunn

I attended Ken's debate camp in 1993. I was the poorest kid there. Ken took a liking to me for some reason, checked in on me. At the end he made sure i got a t-shirt (I couldn't afford one). He was so kind to me that summer and I never forgot it. Never will. R.I.P. coach.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:23:22 AM
J Allen Bradley

When I attended DDI in '85 and '86, Ken had already made Dartmouth THE standard for debate and it's instruction. Ken, his staff, team and his DDI assistants were quickly legend (Katayal, Paul Slappey, among many others) so for those of us who wanted to be surrounded by the best, under Ken's guidance, we found the cutting edge of policy debate in Hanover.

So when Ken lectured, it was a BIG event. The room was always SRO. His colleagues across campus not related to debate also attended. None of us dared say a word, as each of us struggled to notate EVERY word he spoke. He was like a God to us.

Rest in peace Ken!
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:23:47 AM
Gabe Fried

I really liked Ken, but didn't know him well. My heart goes out the whole DFU community. I'm sorry for your loss.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:24:56 AM
J Allen Bradley


Rest in Peace Ken...A full fledged master of the art and science of Rhetoric, he added greatly to the discourse...
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:25:26 AM
UNLV Debate


The UNLV Debate family mourns the passing of Ken Strange. Ken was one of the greatest college policy debate coaches of all time, leading the Dartmouth Forensic Union to unprecedented consistent levels of success. Ken was an amazing educator, one of the best judges in NDT debate for nearly 40 straight years, and a brilliant debate mind. He topped that all off by being consummately friendly, humble, and genuinely kind. Ken also loved playing blackjack and craps, which always gave us a tiny morsel of hope that one day he might retire to Vegas and could occasionally grace our team with his presence. We will miss you. Rest In Peace Ken.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:25:51 AM
Corey Turoff


This man was larger than life to my 16 year old self. My debate partner and I couldn’t have made it as far as we did without Ken’s help finding cards on NMD during camp and his check ins on our progress. I literally would not be the person I am today without his interest in a couple of kids from Buffalo Grove HS. Wouldn’t have been recruited by USC. Wouldn’t have debated in college. Wouldn’t have met all you beautiful people. He will be missed.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:26:11 AM
Sarah Elizabeth

I was, literally, just talking about him with my husband today. After a decade of not really thinking about my HS debate experience. So sad for DFU alums and friends.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:26:39 AM
Alex Berger


It is hard for me to overstate the profound, transformational impact Ken Strange had on my life. He wasn't just my debate coach, he wasn't just my mentor...he was family.

So many on my feed have already spoken to his unparalleled successes as a coach and judge. Others have spoken to his excellence of character far more eloquently than I can. I'm flooded with memories and stories, too many to recount, but for some reason this one sticks out tonight. When I was 16 years old, a student at the Dartmouth summer camp, my uncle passed away suddenly. I barely knew Ken at the time, I was one of 120+ campers and dozens of staff he was overseeing, but he dropped everything to drive me 2.5 hours to Logan airport so I could fly home for the funeral. I honestly don't recall what we talked about on that drive, but I remember being overwhelmed by the warmth and empathy of a truly special person. He didn't have to drive me -- he could have put me on a bus ("don't miss your minicoach, Adam!") -- but that's just who Ken was.

For the next 20+ years of our relationship, Ken never stopped giving -- his time, his knowledge, his resources, his love. He taught me basic fundamentals of debate -- argument, research, presentation. But more important, he taught me basic fundamentals of life -- humility, perseverance, grace.

Nearly everything I've achieved and care about traces back in small or large part to Ken... including my own family. (Without Ken, I wouldn't have met Susan.) Thank you, Coach, for all of it. I love you. May your memory be a blessing.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:27:15 AM
Mike Davis


There aren’t a lot of people who coach debate over the course of several decades. There are even fewer who coach debate at the top level for that amount of time. And there are even fewer who can coach in a way that lets their students know that they matter. Ken Strange was all of those and so much more.

As someone who did not grow up as a top level NDT debater I was always worried I wouldn’t be accepted but the truth is the best coaches, the Ken Stranges and Ross Smiths of the world, always helped me along the way. They made me feel like I could figure out this thing called coaching. They always let me judge their teams and always and were always willing to talk to me about what it meant to be a great coach.

The debate coaching world is very small and it is really hard to explain the feeling of loss when someone who has always been there is gone. My heart goes out to my friends at Dartmouth and everyone feeling this absence tonight.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:27:36 AM
Sarah T Partlow Lefèvre


Ken was one the smartest and kindest people. I always admired his ability to coach amazing teams and to care about people.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:28:06 AM
Kristin Meyers Clark

Oh, this is so sad. I remember meeting him for the first time and going to dinner with him. He really did make that debate space a home. So sorry for you guys and your big debate family.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:28:33 AM
Adam Garen


I am unspeakably sad and grateful for Ken’s influence.

To have been in Ken’s close company for so many years is among the greatest honors & blessings of my life.

RIP, Boss.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:29:18 AM
Roy Levkovitz

In a community of people with great minds and big hearts Ken towered in both.

After Dartmouth eliminated me from the NDT Ken stayed around and hugged and cried with me. It was just the kind of guy he was. He was truly and forever will be the boss.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:29:35 AM
Kristen Pride

Ken always made me felt welcomed at my short during my time at dartmouth. Sorry for your loss bud!
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:29:58 AM
Phillip Voight


So sorry to hear of Ken’s passing. He was a fantastic coach!
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:30:18 AM
Jasmine Stidham


RIP Ken Strange, he was a real one.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:31:13 AM
Scott Odekirk


I wanted to judge like him, I wanted to keep up with his work ethic, I wanted my team to have his team’s family style vibe, and I hoped one day I would have a student speak about me the way all of his talk about him. I loved when halfway through a conversation he would started working out an argument with me. He always wanted to talk shop. He made his mark and he left so many of us with some more things to think about. RIP Ken Strange.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:33:16 AM
Eli Anders:

This is really sad news. Ken was such an incredible role model, teacher, coach, and judge.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 08:58:39 AM
Jaipaul Rekhi


Ken, thank you for believing in all of us. You changed the course of many of our lives. You were inspiring, encouraging, kind, and humble. You built up my confidence when I had very little. Rest in peace friend. 💔
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:01:20 AM
Tim Sanders

He was a wonderful coach, industry leader and most of all a caring person.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:03:19 AM
Joshua Zive

Best judge in the country over the course of decades.One of the best argument coaches ever. Judged and taught novices and bid teams with the same commitment and effort. And I never once saw him treat other teams, coaches, or judges poorly. I can't think of anyone else I could say all of those things about.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:03:52 AM
John M. Bredehoft

I agree with everything Joshua Zive says. He was not only brilliant, but kind, and classy. As a debater, I always loved to see him in the back of the room. (Although he made a bad decision in the final round of the 1979 NDT, Donald Dripps, I did ultimately forgive him.) And after I finished debating, as a semi-coach and hanger on, I always loved to see him at a tournament. So saddened.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:04:14 AM
Casey Anderson

Hard to imagine a debate community without Ken Strange.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:04:42 AM
Jane Boyd

My heart is broken. I will never forget at TOC when he literally sat down at my feet and we talked for a couple of hours. He cared about people and I considered him a good friend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:05:13 AM
Charles Blanchard

Very saddened to hear this. My deepest condolences to his family, many friends, and the many others he helped in his life.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:05:48 AM
Sean McCaffity

 I gave up FB for Lent. And maybe for good. We will see.

But I periodically get emails about posts. Your post, Chuck, triggered such an email from FB headquarters and the subject matter stopped me dead in my tracks. We are losing our titans. I am terribly saddened by this news and know that the love of this community pouring out for such a singularly great mind and person as Ken is far too important to avoid touching that fabric in some small way. So i break this Lenten pledge to express my love and gratitude for a man that wasn’t my coach, but who taught me so much. His students are a testament to his genius. Much love to Ken. Much love to his family. Much love to his Dartmouth debate family. Much love to his broader debate family. This is a loss for us all and one that will be felt far and wide. But I smile and rejoice in his memory, his achievements, his legacy, and his love for the collective activity. Peace, Ken. Peace. Much love to all.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:06:28 AM
Pam Bowman

Ken changed my life. He was incredibly supportive of me in college (and afterwards). His friendly smile and kindness is something I will never forget.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:08:41 AM
Caitlin Bruce


RIP Ken and lots of love to the Dartmouth debate friends. Debate was a complicated place for me, but he was always kind, welcoming force who saw people as valuable no matter their win/loss record. His students and coaches modeled the same ethic, and it was one that made debate a more livable place for many.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: dstrauss13 on April 06, 2019, 11:12:37 AM
Given the extended dominance of the DDI, I strongly suspect that Ken positively impacted a greater number of people than anyone else in the history of the debate community.

For me, I was in Ken's lab at the DDI in 1999.  I have, and will, always considered DDI 99 to be one of the best, and most foundationally important, experiences of my life.  The debt that I, and this community, owe to Ken can never possibly be put into words.

I remember right before Ken retired, I asked him what he was most looking forward to.  He told me that he had purchased a house near Biloxi that was walking distance to both the beach and the casino.  He was looking forward to walking to the beach in the morning, and walking to the casino in the afternoon.  It makes me incredibly happy that he got to live that dream, if only for a couple years.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 02:29:29 PM
John M. Bredehoft

I've seen and read probably hundreds of posts and responses on Ken's passing by now (and made several myself), and the single most common word I have seen used to describe him is "kind." He was brilliant, talented, hard-working -- as are so many in debate -- but he was indeed one of the kindest folks in the activity. So saddened by his passing.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 02:30:06 PM
Brian Lain

Ken Strange was a legend in academic debate. For those that do not know this long-time director of Dartmouth Debate passed away a couple days ago. I heard him lecture at the Wake Workshop in the 1980s and was blown away. Ken was one of the most brilliant thinkers I have ever met who understood strategy in debate rounds better than most in the last 50 years. Plus, he always had a kind word. On a personal note, he believed in my when I didn't deserve it. I worked with/for him for many summers. I remember visiting with him at Darrel Wanzer-Serrano and Nicole Wanzer-Serrano's wedding. I treasured the opportunity. I will never forget how he would lean in an almost whisper the punchline to stories, as if he were telling you a well-kept secret amongst friends. Ken was generous and created opportunities for others, made you feel a part, and all the while was a fierce competitor. As a judge, coach, and teacher, he influenced hundreds of thousands over the lifetime of his career. An incredible model of a debate scholar. RIP
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 02:34:03 PM
Charles Olney


The thing that defined Ken more than anything else was the seriousness with which he approached every task. Good enough to get by was never enough. He wanted to be completely prepared. It meant that he generally understood every team in the country’s arguments as well or better than they did themselves. It meant endless meetings in the DFU, circling around a subject over and over looking for a better angle. It meant T files with hundreds of cards better than the best T card your opponent would have.

The Dartmouth teams I coached were famous for being able to see to the heart of arguments, for not getting bamboozled, for being overwhelmingly prepared. And of course a lot of that is due to the work and effort they all put in. But it’s also because Ken was there, behind them, helping them to model the sort of debate that he had nourished for so long.

I am a better thinker, a better researcher, a better teacher, and a better person now because of the time I got to spend with him. And every student that I get to help along their way is in a small way just another little piece of Ken’s legacy.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 02:35:15 PM
Doug Dennis


I want to write a long, ranty email about Ken, but all I need to say is this:

In 1987, when people who look like me just **didn't** debate and when college directors didn't even really "see" me (more than one of them stopped recruiting me once they **physically saw me** -looking at you Southworth, you racist piece of shit), Ken took time to tell me I could do this shit. And Tommie Lindsay and Ken Strange are the reason I inevitably debated in college, and how I ended up part of this community that I love way more than most of the people in it.

Thank Ken, for seeing what I was incapable/unwilling to see in myself. My wife probably thanks you too, as we never have a place to cross paths without it.

Pro tip: Tell people you care about them. Generally, they prefer to hear it while alive.

and those that know me, this is not a long rant
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 02:35:56 PM
Jan Hovden

Ken was definitely one of the good guys. He was one of a handful of people the first year of the merger who was actually nice to CEDA people. I’ve never forgotten that.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 02:38:05 PM
Jim Lux


Ken was the first person who made me think I could debate in college, and I spent the next four years jealously admiring the culture of the team he created. One of the all-time greats in every respect. Wishing comfort for all the Dartmouth folks and other members of the community out there mourning.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 02:40:40 PM
Hajir Ardebili

These remembrances really resonate with me. He never made me feel out of place as a young college debater, even though I only attended two national tournaments in all of high school and he had no idea who I was. Instead, he was kind and encouraging.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 02:41:31 PM
John McClung

Well said. I've been away from debate and related activities for a long time, but Ken was memorable because he was one of the absolute best.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 02:41:54 PM
Darren Smith

Wonderful tribute. I did not know him as well as you did but I did enjoy my DDI experience with him and the other interactions I had with him. Thoughts and prayers to his family, loved ones, and friends.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 02:42:16 PM
Pam McComas

Gone too soon! Brilliant man, brilliant brain. RIP, Ken.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: DoyleSrader on April 06, 2019, 04:36:07 PM
Few coaches even managed to rival Ken, and I had the same experience so many others describe of his kindness.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:26:30 PM
Kathryn Kernoff

This is just echoing what you said, but I was thinking a similar thought last night. Ken's coaching record is all the more remarkable considering he really was committed to argument more than victory. It also reminds me of all the arguments with Ken about conditionality and how he saw the role of the debater as an advocate. And he really loved talking about arguments, even with other teams
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:27:05 PM
Nicole Wanzer-Serrano

Before the day our lab had to debate other labs (I could never keep inter and intralab debates straight - that was his job), he would *shock* our lab with the idea that their #1 goal was to come back with a good explanation of the other labs arguments. Kids always wanted to “win” those practice debates and he taught them that it was a time to understand and take CAREFUL flows so we’d be able to understand their arguments.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:27:37 PM
Conor Cleary

As an outside observer, this is what I always noticed about Ken and his debate teams. You always knew going into a debate that Dartmouth’s arguments were going to be directly on point, make sense, and be well researched.
And the Dartmouth coaching staff reflected this in their judging, treating every debate they judged with the utmost seriousness no matter if it was JV or the finals of the NDT, rewarding teams for smart arguments rather than contrived ones, and taking the time after debates to provide advice on how to improve as if you were a debater for their team.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:28:12 PM
Peter Susko

RIP Ken. His interactions with Patrick “No Cards” McCleary at tournaments were always a highlight.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:30:58 PM
Anjan Sahni

Condolences to the entire DFU community. Ken was one-of-a-kind and will be sorely missed.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:32:58 PM
Jennifer Armstrong


Ken is the reason I went to Dartmouth and it was such an honor to get to have him as a coach. There is truly no one like him. He developed so many generations of great debaters and great coaches, many of whom I was lucky to have coach me through the years (Kade Olsen,Caroline Olsen, Kathryn Kernoff, Nicole Wanzer-Serrano, John Turner, Brian M. Smith and so many others).

So grateful for Ken and the DFU community he created.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:34:07 PM
Steven J Kung

What a wonderful memory! Ken was one of the good ones. I'm grateful that he had me at DDI for three summers and had me back once again for my masters thesis. Rest in peace, Ken.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:35:48 PM
Natalia Mari Espejo

I am 34 years old and one of my proudest accomplishments is STILL the Ken Strange ballot my partner and I earned at DDI. I am so sorry for your loss.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 06, 2019, 09:40:43 PM
Edmund Zagorin


RIP Ken
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: Hester on April 07, 2019, 07:52:58 AM
Years before Ken had retired from Dartmouth and started working at Wake, he would attend D6 meetings held at Kentucky or Wake or whenever we were meeting at tournaments he was attending. He enjoyed our anarchy admnd we loved having Ken Strange double the brain power of the room with his presence.

I will remember his smile and laugh the most. His intellect and devotion to the best of what our activity has to offer is surpassed only by his kindness.

Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 06:36:35 AM
Alex Lennon


I've been traveling over the weekend so, although I heard about Ken Strange's passing on Friday (thanks Caitlin Talmadge) am only now finding time to write. Maybe it's unfair to say he's 1 of 4 people (Shane Stafford, Scott Deatherage RIP, Paul Newman RIP) who had more influence on me than anyone in debate who didn't coach or teach with me since Ken was my lab leader before my senior year in HS. It's no exaggeration that was the smartest group of people I've ever encountered in one place at one time in my life--no class at Harvard, no professional setting with future and past cabinet members, none. If I remember right, this is one of the groups Ouita Michel taught and included TA McKinney from MBA, David Coleman (future College Board president), Hannah Rosin (Superstar Atlantic author and editor) and Steve Shaw & Emily Fries from Stuyvesant; @Neal Kumar Katyal from Loyola (IL); Marc Rubinstein Jason Bergman & Scott Grossman from St Marks; Zach Lieber from Manchester; Chris Landgraff and Mark Malaspina from Westminster; Joe Thompson and Andy Edison from Kinkaid; Jeff Richardson & Ashok Nayak from Isidore Newman, the Dowling boys (and had to deal with Josh Sharfstein—the giant killer who almost slayed us all) and so many other great minds I'm overlooking and have forgotten 30 years later. It was a time when everyone (and I mean everyone) at the top of the HS game flocked to DDI if they could get into his lab because Ken and his reputation (which was well deserved) were at its peak. The brightest people being taught by the brightest, most passionate strategic mind.

Ken introduced me to forbidden fruit theory (in a debate context) and taught by example how to strategize and prepare for debates at a time when I just winged it when every round started in HS. He thought about issues more deeply than I could imagine and at no benefit to himself other than the joy of the game and teaching others how to play it. It was way beyond recruiting. It was passion. And he led by example.

I remember at UNI four years later--the first tourney my senior year in college (the year after debating with David Coale who had graduated when I was resetting my career with a frosh) having lost to TA McKinney (now at Kentucky) and Rocky with Ken voting for them on a 2-1 in octos on a neg argument I had written over the summer (I remember more meaningful losses than wins oddly)--now after I had learned how to research in college, and taking a dictionary into the room when he was judging a quarters debate hours later and showing him that he was wrong about the word a key card used because I cared so much about his assessment of that debate (the other judge's decision didn't matter to me). He was the strategic mind I wanted to convince. And, as others have mentioned, the enduring thing I remember was that high-pitched cackle as I walked into the room at a suitable time cuz he knew I hadn't let it go. His patience was endless as he listened and nodded and smiled. How could he get mad at anyone who loved the game and cared as much as he did?

He was the first step in showing me what it took at that young age to develop the research skills I needed to win in the top college level years later (beating his own team in the semis in what Tim Alderete nearly 30 years later in FB called the best debate he had ever seen -- because Ken had dug HARD into the aff we had run all year. And I'm pretty sure, as good as the Dartmouth team was, that if Ken was debating, we would have lost. That's how good he was when he set his mind to solving the puzzle that you laid out in your arguments). Those skills benefited me personally well beyond debate--they were the foundation for a career in research and analysis.

I was able to see Ken so many years later at the Wake Forest HS tourney a couple years ago (after he retired for the 3rd time) and we talked (passionately of course) about how the activity had changed since those days. He still clearly loved it but it was, in his mind, harder to dig so deep into arguments because there were so many more and different types now...and the politics of our country had split so badly and how it affected the game he loved...But if there was an argument that he knew his teams had to beat--whether at HS summer camp or to win the NDT--I don't know anyone that would have been more obsessed with researching and figuring out how to win. He dove DEEP, and showed anyone else he coached how to do the same...even if you couldn't come close to doing it as well as he did.

I knew Ken wasn't in the best of health before he passed, but he still loved this game. And he passed on so much to so many, as my Facebook feed shows in the past few days. I hope this finds others willing to read this far that also have such great love for Ken and the difference he made in so many lives. Because he cared.

I could never thank him enough for the difference he made in his life for the rest of mine, but he knew....I can only imagine what the debaters that debated for him in college are feeling. Neal Andre Hylton Marc Wilson Christine Mahoney Erik Steven Lehotsky David Hung Sonja Starr and so many more.

Miss you, Ken. Love you. And thank you. Forever.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 06:37:10 AM
Jeff Richardson

Alex Lennon thanks for tagging me in this post to alert me to Ken's passing. He was truly a legend in the debate world and I learned so much from him -- especially, as you say, during our debate lab in Summer 1986 at Dartmouth. As I look back upon my life at the key moments that helped to craft me into who I am today as a critical thinker, that was definitely a highlight. I'm attaching a picture that I came across at some point from the DDI 1986. What a fantastic summer. And what a great leader, who will be missed by so many.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 06:38:37 AM
Chris Crowe


Ken Strange was an enigmatic force for the early and mid-2000s Wyoming Debate team. Matt, sometime later in our junior year, asked us to start ranking all of the “old-timers” highly on our pref sheets. It wasn’t until late in our senior year, in the doubles at the University of Texas tournament, that Ken finally judged us, in an unremarkable 3-0 defeat. Before that, my knowledge of Ken was relegated to Travis Cram's description of his judging as essentially some sort of pre-Game of Thrones High Septon who would only periodically descend from a misty mountaintop to grace us with his wisdom. Ken was actually far less mysterious than that it turns out, but even more legendary.

Brian and I snuck in a few pretty good wins over the years with some wily Wyoming trickery, and we were well-defended against similar trickery from other ragtag styles of debating. Not much really ever caught us off guard strategically, but we could not beat a top-tier Dartmouth team for the life of us. In the fall of 2005, Dartmouth debuted the season with an affirmative case that seemed facially nontopical to the rest of the debate community. Dartmouth knew this, of course, but I think underestimated the type of in-round investment it would take early on to defeat a big topicality push. By the end of that tournament, they were reading topicality cards in the 1AC to get ahead of it, and Brian and I lost going for topicality against them in round 8 (a debate in which Dartmouth went for “conditionality is worse than being nontopical,” something for which I hope Ken ribbed them a little).

Importantly, we knew from that moment that the way we needed to beat Dartmouth was head-on and to work at least as hard as they did.

Fast-forward to the Wake tournament in 2005, and we got our second chance. Kathryn and I have had some playful banter about this debate for a long time and hell, maybe we actually should have lost, I don’t know at this point. But I can tell you this with confidence: that debate was the hardest the Wyoming squad had worked to win a single debate up to that point in our generation’s history. Eric Forslund produced hundreds of pages of evidence turning every angle of the case. Forslund probably spent 100+ hours preparing us to be negative for this exact debate, including several strategy meetings while he was definitely on the third level of the dream about Aegis Ballistic Missile Defense in Taiwan. I retroactively like to think this emulated Ken’s argument strategy conversations that everyone is talking about since his passing.

In a sense of cosmic topicality justice, and because Dartmouth made us rise to the challenge, we started reading their case the opposite way as our affirmative. Years later, recounting this narrative to Charles and Kade, I learned that Dartmouth was unsure which way to read the case in the pre-season and spent an unreasonable amount of time figuring it out. It now feels like we replicated their pre-season just a few months later. One of the reasons Dartmouth was so difficult to defeat was that they always appeared to have one of the truly great pre-season preparations, and at Wyoming we were awful at pre-season work. I don’t mean we didn’t do a lot of work, I mean that we never had a good angle on the topic or a good prediction of how other teams were going to treat the topic. It took essentially replicating a Dartmouth summer of work midseason to get one measly victory. That is how hardworking Ken and his debaters were.

I worked tirelessly at several smaller debate camps for years before I could break into working at Dartmouth. I finally showed up to the Dartmouth Debate Insitute in the summer of 2011 with luggage full of imposter syndrome. Debate is funny like that. I was an accomplished-enough debater and coach with confidence in my teaching, but Dartmouth impressed me in a way no other program does. I was not afraid, I just wanted to prove I belonged on the teaching staff.

I quickly shed that syndrome thanks entirely to Ken Strange. Ken somehow took a liking to me, and that felt like an immediate free pass to all of his debaters and colleagues at Dartmouth. I have lifelong friends that only took that initial 4 weeks in Hanover to obtain. I spent 6 more years working with and around Ken at the DDI, a fraction of what his closest friends got to spend with him, and yet I consider Ken and the Dartmouth family my extended family. It was that easy to fall in love with Ken.

At the DDI, we had a lot of inside jokes and stories. I will not reveal the progenitor of the following, but we used to have fairly long conversations about how if there was one person in the debate community that you could punch without repercussion, who would it be? It sounds vicious, but it really wasn’t. It was one of those silly things that just comes up after several years of being cooped up in the Choates. We even had an entire list of conditions and clarifications trying to prove how innocent it was. Well, anyway – we would have this conversation in front of Ken from time to time and prod him to answer. It feels like it took several years of massaging the thought experiment to make it sound more nonviolent, less like it was talking shit about another debater, asking ken again and again – before he even considered answering. My memory of wearing him down on this question is probably clouded. It felt like it took years, but maybe it only took a couple days. It was probably most of the summer. Ken Strange - the consummate professional, the High Septon, the most influential debate coach of the last half-century -- never answered.

Or did he?

Rest easy, Ken. I can’t imagine what my life would be like without you.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 06:39:21 AM
Travis Cram

I believe my vocabulary at the time said something to the effect of Ken RFD was akin to "a wise old grizzly who descends from the high mountain to briefly live among the humans, every so often roaring a new truth into the heavens, forever inscribing it among the star
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 06:40:30 AM
Pedro Segura


The summer I spent at the DDI with Ken Strange and Nicole Wanzer-Serrano was the summer debate finally clicked for me and maybe my favorite summer ever. Ken knew when to be blunt (telling me and Andrew Barron "you sound like bad high school debaters" in like our first camp debate) and when to be patient and encouraging (like when he coaxed me into finishing a 2AR that was collapsing out of nerves). He transformed the way I spoke and taught me things during those 8 weeks that I used every debate until my career ended. RIP Ken
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 06:41:08 AM
Mike Carlotti


Sad day for the debate community. Ken had an enormous impact on my debate career (so many of our careers...), and thus really everything in my life that has occurred since I joined debate. I was a nobody before the summer I spent with him (and Nicole ❤), and it’s just incredible to reflect on just how big of an impact some people have on your life when the roots run so deeply throughout it all. To Ken and all of my debate mentors (you know who you are): thank you, and I love you. Rest easy, friend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 06:43:43 AM
Barry Ragsdale

 I debated for a small commuter school that nobody had ever heard of. Whenever Ken judged me he would always take the time to also coach me a little, even though we obviously competed (poorly) against his teams. He obviously didn’t have to do that, but he loved teaching and coaching so much, that it was just in his nature. Debate has lost one of its true legends.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 06:59:47 AM
Joan V. Gallos

An educator and a caring soul who changed lives through his commitment to debate. RIP
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:00:09 AM
Andrea Alterman

So sorry to hear of his passing. RIP
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:10:12 AM
 New York City Urban Debate League 
https://blog.debate.nyc/news/remembering-dr.-ken-strange?utm_content=88910832&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&hss_channel=fbp-266212900129948&fbclid=IwAR2nXqT0X13ZTsDhNYhVhMGgc5tpnJ-7LIGcraXjoPlzToBE8MAS-kPVtAs

"I'm a crazy, old man. You are strongly advised to strike me.  If that didn't convince you, I hope the following will…” - first sentence of Dr. Ken Strange's judging paradigm, former Director of Debate of Dartmouth College. The Debate Community lost one of the most incredible debaters, coaches, judges, teachers, advocates, and human beings last week. Ken directed the debate program at Dartmouth College for an astonishing 35 years (1980-2015). And did not simply direct the program but created a legendary debate program. His accomplishments include eight National Debate Tournament (NDT) finalists, three NDT champions, about a dozen NDT semi-finalists, three CEDA Nationals finalists, five Copeland Award winners, and a number of top NDT speaker awards. For almost 30 straight years Ken had teams winning at least one elimination round at the NDT. But even more importantly his impact on hundreds of thousands of debaters over the years including so many NYC debaters, alumni, teachers, and myself. Ken is the model of a Great Debater, Great Coach, Great Judge, Great Educator and Great Person and while missed, his life, impact, lessons continue forever in so many of his students, friends, family and entire debate community.

 

For those who did not or did know Ken, sharing several of the many Facebook memories of Ken to learn more about the incredible impact he had on so many. You can also view more on College Policy Debate Forums (click here)
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:21:49 AM
Randy Shaver

So sorry to hear this news. What an impact on so many generations of debaters.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:22:08 AM
Bobby Burchfield

I remember Ken well from both high school and college debate. Wonderful man.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:22:35 AM
John Hughes

Such sad news. The Debate Community has lost some true giants too soon.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:23:02 AM
Jennifer Trivett Braden

Sorry for the lost of such a great man.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:23:28 AM
J Walker Smith

He was my NU institute instructor the summer of ‘72. And a friend ever after. Sad news. An amazing, wonderful person.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:23:47 AM
Mark Cotham

What a really great person. He’s one of those people who decades later his personality is still a joy. RIP my friend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:24:12 AM
Marna Weston

Deepest condolences and sadness in the loss of a friend in debate. I attended Dartmouth’s summer policy debate lab as a Barton Scholar and the Strange’s were incredibly warm and hospitable. This is difficult news.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:24:33 AM
Nick Burnett

So sad to hear. He was a friend even to debaters at other programs. A great, kind, likeable fellow. He’ll be missed by many!
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 08, 2019, 07:24:58 AM
Tom Fulkerson

 A good man and a limitless source of good humor.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: mschnall on April 08, 2019, 08:57:37 PM
Ken’s impact on debate and on debaters was so wide and deep as to be difficult to describe.  These reminiscences – and thank you, Sherry, for collecting them in one place – have helped to recall some mannerisms (the joyful cackle, the conspiratorial whisper, the most humble booming voice you ever heard) and some accomplishments (the championships, the NDT elim win streak).  They amply illustrate the longevity of Ken’s influence, yet I don’t know whether the intensity of his presence as a coach and a judge, as I remember it, quite comes through. 

When I was debating in college, from the fall of 1986 through the spring of 1990, Ken was finishing a ten-year period in which he coached fifteen Dartmouth teams to NDT first-round bids, and eleven teams to the semifinals of the tournament.  Fifteen first-round bids over ten years is incredible, but it was mind-boggling, in light of the level of competition and the challenges of a single-elimination tournament, that in a period in which only two teams per school could qualify, Dartmouth AVERAGED more than one team in the semis (Ken kept the streak going for three more years after I graduated).  Clearly, Ken had the opportunity to coach some truly remarkable debaters.  But other programs also had remarkable debaters, and it was an exciting accomplishment for them to reach the NDT semifinals, but not an annual occurrence.

Ken judged me many times – I can’t really remember how many – and it is possible he may never have voted for me.  Now, I was not a patient or humble debater, as I am sure some of the judges from my era (not to mention my coaches) can attest.  So it is somewhat astounding to me even now that I can’t remember walking away from one of Ken’s decisions frustrated.  Part of it, I am sure, was his reputation, and part of it his contagious love for (and mastery of) the nuances of everyone’s positions, about which several folks have written.  But a big part that I remember was Ken’s ability to frame his explanation of his decision in the terms of your own argument, rather than in some external, objective terms.  Your argument may not have prevailed, but you never left feeling it had not been understood, top to bottom. 

It was a privilege to work for Ken a couple of summers at DDI (1991 and 1992).  I didn’t teach with him, so I can’t echo the comments of others on the experiences in his lab group.  But he did assemble a staff that everyone was immensely proud to be a part of – with leading argument innovators, coaches who were in the thick of college and high school competition, and a few young, recently graduated college debaters like me (he did not, like other leading camps at the time, hire current college students).  It seemed he was still doing the same – with some help from his friends – when my daughter attended the institutes 20 years later.  It was a blast to get to visit and reminisce with Ken about the changes in debate and debate institutes, and just as much of a thrill to meet the new staff as it had been to work with the folks Ken had gathered together in the early 90s.

When I last saw Ken, at the 2015 Harvard tournament, he was on to the next adventure, coaching at Wake Forest, taking joy in a new set of arguments (and debaters) and their own strategy and nuance.  If there is a next adventure after this life, I hope that it brings Ken as much pleasure as debate in this world did.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:33:02 AM
Lesley Wexler

RIP Ken. Dan and I agree about almost nothing debate related, but we agreed that you were always our favorite sighting on the rare occasion when we made it back to a tournament. You always had a few minutes to reminisce and relive our favorite shared moments. Mine was finding you in a CMAC chat room trolling for cards.

But I think the most telling was a big debate when you railed on MSU for a relying on a Clinton link card that didn’t say anything at all. We all looked at each other in disbelief and MSU angrily pointed out that you missed the bottom of the card because of the large blank lexis gaps. Rather than bluster your way out, you admitted the mistake and said you don’t know how you would have decided if you’d read the whole thing. And a week later, multiple cases of beer showed up at MSU’s office door.

Debate is not a game that generally rewards humility or publicly acknowledging mistakes. And you made so very few mistakes. You knew the game better than anyone and participated in it with care. But the willingness to say I made a mistake, I’m sorry, and I’ll do the best I can to fix it, knowing that the fix is imperfect, is a lesson I keep with me everyday and I think of you often.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:36:15 AM
Marc Wilson
2 hrs ·

I have, like many others, tried to work through the emotions of losing Ken. Andre Hylton’s words, not surprisingly, hit home in big way. I found myself digging through those boxes in basement that will never be thrown away, but rarely get a look. I found some gems, various pictures from yesteryear, three different DDI Green Books, etc. Seeing these brought me some sense of joy.

Ken was a culture builder. From the day I met him as a high school kid at DDI to debating for him for 4 years and for the next almost thirty years, he stood out as one the most important influences on my life. Nicole Wanzer-Serrano stories of both DDI and the team just serve as further affirmations of what we all know across all the generations of debaters.

He loved gambling and he loved golf. He cursed and yelled at inanimate objects a lot while doing these activities. He could laugh in a way that would make others around him feel joy - and a compelling need to imitate him.

He was there for some of the happiest and saddest moments of my life.

I remember the World Bank pulling out of the Narmada Dam project and hour before the NDT finals and he pretended like it was nothing... I remember Ken hitting a deer with the debate van trying to pick Andre and me up at Logan at some crazy hour of the morning ...... I remember the kicking of the file cabinet..

The saddest memory, however, was my senior year when Ken, Andre, Donna, and I arrived back at the DFU the Tuesday morning after a week at Kentucky. The whole team was there. It fell on Ken to bring me back to his office to let me know that my brother had died in the UT debate team crash coming home from UNLV. In the daze that followed, Ken sat with me on the flights all the way to my family. For his support through that time in my life I will be eternally grateful.

As a parent now, I can only hope that my children have the opportunity to find a teacher, a coach or mentor that is even half of what Ken was to Dartmouth to me and to our whole debate community.

One of the great characteristics of the community is that we always had ties between all of our schools. I know that our friends at Wake and Northwestern in particular have grieved over the past few years. In that context, I was particularly struck by one note from someone everyone knows. She summed it up best: “The giants are gathering elsewhere, I guess.”
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:37:38 AM
Andre Hylton

Ken is gone….

Its just hard to accept.

This is not a situation where Ken was my coach way back when, and I am reminiscing about a time long gone. We always kept in touch. Even as recently as days ago, Ken, David Reymann, Steven Sklaver, Ara Lovitt and I were texting juvenile humor back and forth. We planned on visiting Ken this summer, in just a couple months. Best laid plans.

We did a retirement celebration for Ken two and a half years ago in Hanover. The Dartmouth debate alums have heard my thank you regarding debate and finances, so this part will be brief. My parents both had good jobs. Firmly in the middle class. My brother was an undergraduate at MIT when it came time for me to attend DDI. There was no way my parents could swing it financially with the MIT tuition for my brother and my Woodward tuition weighing them down. The middle class is the worst place to be when it comes to paying for education. Ken exerted a lot of flexibility to make DDI affordable for me. And again, when I attended Dartmouth College, Ken set me up with work study jobs and helped me get summer gigs at camps to soften the financial blow. I am deeply grateful.

I am grateful for Ken as a coach, judge and presence in the activity. Others have written about that articulately over the past few days. I agree with all of it.

I am also grateful for our long standing friendship. The one thing I will miss the most is the laughter. Ken enjoyed a good laugh and never took himself too seriously. We had so many funny moments. I can recall one time coming back from a tournament in our van. We drove by the Afro-American society and I saw a handful of female friends (Latia Curry, Carmen Bronston, Brandi M. Kenner-Bell, Taheerah Tee Kay El-Amin) walking out of the building to trek to the other side of the campus. We decided to give them a ride. After we dropped them off, Ken said “those were some fine sisters right there.” We must have laughed for ten minutes. There was the time that I (along with my girlfriend), housesat for Ken and Donna one weekend when I was in law school. Ken’s dog (Darcy?) ate all of my girlfriends panties out of her suitcase, and we had to go to White River Junction to get her some underwear. Ken thought it was the most hilarious thing.

Then, there was Ken’s hilarious flashy temper. Ken could get mad. Not often, but it was spectacular. Never have I enjoyed being called fuckface/fuckbag/fuckball so much. He always cooled down fast, and then felt bad that he flipped out. He kicked a tub once in anger at Marc Wilson, and then said “I think I broke my toe.” Once, after asking Lindsey Carlin Gideon to put up her bike and being ignored, he threw the bike down in a ravine behind their condo. He felt terrible about it, but the story of him going down there to fish it out was spectacular. There was the time when Robbie Ashe, in a fit of bad judgment after we won the West Georgia tournament, ordered several hundred dollars worth of shots for our table. Ken exploded spectacularly, to all of our delight.

I think I will miss most the spontaneous fun. He loved to get the gang together and go down to Jesse’s, Café Buon Gustaio or that Italian joint in White River Junction for a good bite of food and a cocktail. He loved Mexican food, and we often would find a good spot at tournaments to get some hot chips and guac and a stiff margarita. And jokes.

And he had a good sense for when dough was tight for us as students. He always picked up the tab right when you were running on fumes. Back then I naively thought that Ken, a giant in his field, was compensated at a level where that was nothing to him. I later learned that he put together a solid, but not extravagant, living by cobbling together his coaching pay with revenue for the summer program. That generosity was of his own hard earned money. A couple of years ago he was in Atlanta, and out of desire to somehow thank him for moments like these, I took him to Atlanta’s longest standing, best steakhouse (Bones). I had planned for us to blow it out, the way we used to. But Ken was slowing down at that time. He had a nice piece of fish and some veggies. The time had passed. (Plus, Groussman paid. Groussman always pays).

So, I am not really taking this well. Ken meant a lot to me and I love him. I will always picture him in his elim day outfit. Khaki pants, black Members Only jacket. Brown shoes with tassles.

This is one of the struggles in life, at some point everyone you love will either say goodbye to you or you will say goodbye to them. I will rely on my faith.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:38:58 AM
Adam Garen

“Then, there was Ken’s hilarious flashy temper” — tempered, through the years, by people like you.

He was lucky to have you in his life, Andre.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:39:42 AM
Kiran Talluri Dre,

a few relevant observations about why Ken's the man: 1. fairness o/w winning- He prioritized work/study time for people who needed it most. That's irrespective of your debate ability; 2. respect (every) DFUer - a jackass 05 made an unnecessary classist remark to a new freshman '06 during our first preseason squad meeting. Ken overheard and threw a pen directly at his dude's head, publicly mocked said bully in front of everybody, kicked him out of the preseason meeting and banned his food privileges for a freaking week - food court wasn't open so that ban was serious. 3. He's always teaching -surprise, I am said jackass - and, I never did that again......ever. Anybody who saw that second strike didn't either. David Marks Sandeep Ramesh Kathryn Kernoff Brian M. Smith, John Turner - remember the the pen thing?
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:40:18 AM
Marie A Dzuris

Andre, I am sorry you are struggling - adulting sucks. Lean hard on your friends, family, and any other support system. You were lucky to have him in your life for so long. He was as lucky (and I know Ken would agree) to have everyone in his life. Being older than you, I have said goodbye to a number of people - many too early. It never gets easier but your appreciation for those around you gets bigger. Love and hugs to you ❤️❤️❤️
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:40:46 AM
David Hung

Dammit, Andre Hylton - just when I manage to make it a day without tearing up, you drop a bomb like this. So many of these memories are so vivid and overlapping, it's like they happened yesterday. The time spent in the DFU, at tournaments, in the AM with the likes of you, David Reymann, Lara Swensen, Marc Wilson, and Steven Lehotsky are some of my fondest, especially knowing that we were young, likely very annoying, fanboy young buck fuckballs who you guys tolerated. You were the singular source of so many of Ken's cackles.

One memory that has stuck out to me from the '95-'96 season was that this was the year of the Evil Empire (4 First Rounds) and we had Darth Vader in the corner of all of our blocks - if I recall correctly, this was your stroke of genius. I was the work study team copy boy that year so it was my job to basically double copy every block we had (once for the Vader letterhead, once for the actual file). The fact that Ken was ok with doubling our copying costs in the name of a good joke and team unity was but one example of how he never once spared a single expense for his teams.

I'm going to miss him so freaking much and only wish I had a chance to tell him how much he meant to me. I'm sure so many others in the community do too.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:41:17 AM
David Reymann

I will miss his laugh more than anything.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:41:47 AM
Craig Budner

Andre - this is fabulous. While our generations don’t overlap, Ken’s behavior was clearly a constant in all ways. I’m not sure I’ve truly absorbed the loss. I came close when my son Ben (who also loves you) shared his admiration for Ken. Other than the retirement party, he only knew Ken through the stories Uncle Lenny, Uncle Kouly, Aunt Chrissy/Uncle Erik and I shared over the years. In fact, the day he died and before I learned of it, I was listening to a book that challenged the reader to think of the mentor or teacher who made the biggest difference in their life. Of course I thought of Ken. 8 hours later, I received the call from David Baker. Ken was no charmer but damn I wish he was still here to drive that scooter around a casino with us one more time.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:42:12 AM
Tim Alderete

 I am very sorry for the loss to your whole Dartmouth family.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:42:44 AM
Brian Thomas Fletcher

Very well said. I know it’s extremely tough but the memories will last forever and give comfort. He was/is a great, great man. I think about Duck very often, and I know you will think about Ken very often - this is a good thing as it is a testament to their impact, kindness, and protectiveness. Ken’s world was better bc you were in it and vice versa. He was and will always be proud of you.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:43:26 AM
John Hughes

Andre - I didn’t know Ken remotely as well as you or all the great Dartmouth debaters he coached. But your words hit home for me, reminding me how I felt when we lost Ross. What I always thought was awesome about Ken was how he genuinely was interested in helping even his competitors. He made a debater from nowhere Montana feel like I belonged. And along with Bill Russell became one of my favorite judges. I was lucky enough to attend the Dartmouth RR twice, and came away knowing he had created something special. My favorite tournament for sure. Seeing your post and others like it is a powerful reminder of how much positive influence the great debate coaches have had on so many lives. Hopefully he is gambling somewhere with Ross and Duck!
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:45:16 AM
Nicole Wanzer-Serrano
10 hrs ·

I don’t know how to speak about the loss of Ken Strange. I’ve spent the past few days taking notes as I remember random stories and lessons. I’ve tried to remember all of the times he influenced what direction I would take next. In the 20 years I knew Ken, he was my coach, my boss, my teaching partner, my employee, my mentor, and my friend. For a man who never answered or sent emails, I have thousands of emails from him that include subject lines like “Facebook thing”, “F*** YOU,” “MEET AFTER RD4” which, 20 minutes later was followed by “REMEMBER TO MEET AFTER RD4”, “even more crap from Ken”, “Social Schedule,” “WHAT!!!!”, “PICTURE PICTURE PICTURE”, “”Why when everyone has a single????”, “Did you know?”, “HANGOVER IN HANOVER,” “LONSTAH -fest”, “save me a seat at Molly’s,” and “miss you.”

The only person who could help me figure out how to structure all of these memories and stories into a coherent argument is Ken himself. He’d hate all the bother and credit anyone is giving him. I also know that all of these posts are so long that he’d inevitably send me a screenshot asking how to see the full post and I’d have to circle the “see more” link for him to click it. And then a month later he’d ask how to find the facebook posts because he forgot to go back to them.

So in no particular order and with hopefully good clear front loaded labels.

1. Butt pants. - For one of his birthdays, I got him sweatpants and ironed on the letters “DFU” across the butt and “Ken” on the thigh. He wore them for years - even out of the house. I regret that I never made him another pair when he told me the old pair wore out. I also regret that I never convinced him to wear them for an institute picture.

2. Birthdays. - Ken hated his own birthday, but loved celebrating other people’s (if booze was involved). He made me promise not to share his birthday with lab kids sometimes. I got yelled at once for sending a birthday card (and was told to send tequila next time). His go to celebration for anyone’s birthday was this awful Mexican restaurant because he just thought “it was more fun for everyone.” By that, he meant he loved wearing a sombrero, taking bets on how many pitchers of margaritas I could drink, and ordering tequila shots until the staff made a fool of themselves.

3. Connecting people. - He love connecting alums with alums, alums with current students, etc. My junior year, he forwarded me an email from a mom of one of our new team members. She was worried that her daughter wouldn’t have a good birthday celebration and wanted Ken to help her arrange a cake for her daughter. He connected her to me and had me arrange the party. A cake and some “refreshments” turned into a great surprise birthday party for the person who many years later would be my matron of honor.

Whenever I came across a random DFU alum, he loved telling me some random story about them in college or the institute. His memory was incredible. He never could remember how far they got at the NDT or if they debated all 4 years, but he always knew what embarrassing thing they did their first year at the Harvard tournament party.

4. College Debate - The DDI was about recruiting for Dartmouth, but also about recruiting for college debate. When I started helping him with lab placements, I asked him why he asked for high school transcripts in the application process. We seemed to have no use for them during the camp. He told me he used it as a way to gauge whether it was “cruel” to recruit the kid for Dartmouth and to help suggest other colleges. He also loved doing the “debating in college” session at the DDI. He would compile all of the email addresses for college programs and hand them out to all of the kids - even kids he was recruiting. He wanted them all to debate in college, even if it meant losing top recruits to other programs.

5. Staff dinners - Ken loved the Weather Vanes cheap LOB-STAHs and loved teaching new people how to eat a lobster. He thought the hibachi staff throwing food in the air to be caught by drunk staff members was hilarious. He said $2 margaritas that used tequila-flavored liquor were just as good as real margaritas (they aren’t). He didn’t care where people ate, but he loved having all the staff together to argue about debate arguments. He loved the back corner of the Canoe Club with the couches because it was easier to talk to each other while eating. And, although he complained about in lab, he always told me he liked it when we planned all lab meals, even if it was just time in the cafeteria. He loved getting together with people in a social setting and making debate something that was fun.

6. Institute Pictures - It was honestly better to sleep through an elective or judging a round than to sleep through the institute picture. Even after the advent of social media, Ken insisted and loved that all the old camp pictures were posted in the hallway for all the kids to see. He would choose the most responsible of the incoming first years to take the folder of printed pictures and staple them EXACTLY TO HIS INSTRUCTION on the same bulletin boards every year.

One year, a student was coming to our camp whose father had previously taught at the DDI. Ken, of course, had me respond to all emails about lab requests and relevant things to the camp. Instead, Ken scanned copies of the institute picture where the father was and sent those back via email. He loved holding on to that history and those memories and always seem to know just when to share them with others. He had a powerful vision of the DDI as a connection point for the debate community. For years, Ken also had an institute directory where the addresses, home phone numbers and (eventually) emails, so that staff and students could stay in touch. Those pictures, those back files, those directories were all Ken’s way of connecting hundreds of lives each summer to each other through debate.

7. “Delegation” - Ken gave me a warped sense of delegation. He wrote these “Who am I and What am I doing” memos for the NDT, the institute, and basically everything that had excruciating detail. Ken could anticipate every miss step you might take and would tell you how to avoid. Here is a snippet from an NDT one that explains what do to after a round ends

“Debaters: 1. Turn on your cell 2. Start filing as soon as the 2AR is over. Sorting will help you find cards judges want and get you ready to file. Start filing stuff least likely to be called for by the judges. File the rest.
3. As soon as possible, pack up your evidence. At the end of all even numbered rounds and odd numbered neg rounds, AB and CO need to have everything organized so that Jamie and Sisy can move it. 4. Return to the announcement room. You can go to another team’s room first if you want, but when everyone is done, all should get to the announcement room ASAP.”

When he no longer ran the institute, he also liked to email or ask “questions” that were all passive aggressive reminders of things he thought we should do. “Are there any guidelines for the library tour?” during the million DDI was his polite reminder that we were doing things wrong. At the time I begrudged his hatred of change (and of showing students the reference section they were never going to use), but I know he was doing it to make sure we succeeded (and to make fun of me about it for the whole summer).

8. Rom Coms - Ken loved Veronica Mars (seasons 1-3), Desperate Housewives, and Gilmore Girls. He rented and watched alone “How to lose a guy in 10 days”. But really this is no surprise because Ken LOVED gossip. He always seem to know everything about everyone. After I worked there a while, he started to treat me as the “adult” in the staff dorm in case of issues. At first I thought he was just easy going about staff debauchery, but really, he just wanted to make sure that I kept him up on all the gossip amongst the staff. Usually those stories were greeted with some comment about how none of our brains are “fully formed” until we turn 25.

9. Hard working - Ken work harder than everyone else. He never asked a staff person to do anything he wasn’t willing and already doing himself. He taught early electives. When he wasn’t teaching electives, he would watch other people’s electives to report back to lab on arguments or share the notes with our labbies. He did transportation pick ups, judged debates, and even photo copied files if that’s what the team or institute needed. Last couple of years, he stopped teaching a generic the first week of the DDI. I made a joke about him sleeping in while the rest of us did work and accidentally offended him. He then spent 30 minutes detailing all of the financial records he hard to work on during that time. Plus, the next day, he showed up to the library to check in on research. Ken never took a break if he didn’t physically have to.

During camp he taught kids that no one can sleep standing up. So, if they were tired during a lecture, just stand up. Sometimes note taking was difficult in lab because so many kids were standing up! But they were always in good company because Ken would struggle to stay awake and then stand up himself. His true secret to staying awake while judged was atomic fireballs. I made sure his briefcase had a big handful every practice debate and tournament day.

As an undergrad, it was always the winter break meeting, when we were exhausted from studying for finals, when he’d tell the story about some debate team that would do well in the fall and then poorly second semester because they wouldn’t work hard. He’d tell you that your break is a chance to sleep, but even with sleep and family time, there were a few hours a day you could do work. Finally he’d end with some version of the lesson that has stuck with me the most - your disappointment/joy at the end of the year only gets to be proportionate to the amount of work you did.

10. The greatest teacher - Ken was the greatest teacher. Many have spoken about him as a great debate mind - and he was - but for over a decade, I saw him teach a wide variety of high school students how to become better debaters. The first lab session we always went over our ground rules. Those ground rules included telling the kids that we were the bottom lab, that if you’re not 5 minutes early you’re late, and that no one would say more stupid things in lab than him. His point was simple. Our time together was finite and precious. We would all be better if we showed up with the attitude that we were there to test out arguments and find the best version of every argument we could.

We “tested” out a lot of arguments in lab. He and I developed a system of sitting away from each other during quiet lab sessions so we could argue and involve as many students. At first, we’d intentionally pick sides to make sure all the students felt like their opinions were valid and important. It was a good lab session when we could both argue for the same side against the students. Ken always seem to win the fight with an eye brow raise or by saying “this just makes NO SENSE AT ALL.”

I went into coaching because Ken told me one summer that I should. He told me he thought I was a good teacher because I wasn’t “polluted” by education classes. When I worked at another camp, he took me aside and said it was too hard to find good female debate teachers and that I should only work at Dartmouth. Ken always knew what I should do next. When I struggled so hard in college, Ken told me to just focus on finishing what I could in a given day. He showed me how to make lists, handed me stacks of lexis research when I fell behind, and tried to teach me to worry less. It was Ken who told me that everyone has challenges and not to be embarrassed, but also not to slack off. He expected hard work and effort. I regret the many times I failed him.

11. Ken loved debate - It’s no surprise that there are so many Dartmouth debaters involved in the movement to bring debate to more schools and students. Ken led by example. He refused to change the DDI application process to accept kids early because he thought it would hurt the kids who needed financial aid. He didn’t like to offer discounts or bargains because he wanted to keep the financial aid budget as large as possible. He firmly believed that equal work meant equal pay, so all lab leaders were paid the same, all lab assistants were paid the same, etc. He hired all Dartmouth debaters for the full amount of our federal work study and asked us to spend those hours doing a little photocopying and a lot of debate work. He had a copier at the DDI until well after most of the kids were paperless because he didn’t want any kid who wanted to debate on paper not to have access to it. When the DFU went paperless, he spent a ton of money shipping all of the old tubs and accordions to me in Dallas to give to the Dallas Urban Debate students. He loved when the DDI podcasted lectures and we got emails from kids who couldn’t go to camp with questions - and asked to answered many of them. His fundraising advice to me was to keep it simple - “Just tell them debate is good.”

Underview (which was Ken's least favorite "bad high school" debater thing)
There’s so much more. I have the blackboard cheat card he gave me when he taught me to play blackjack in Vegas. I promised him a New Orleans trip so he could teach CJ to play blackjack.
He loved having his dog Darcy in the institute picture. When she was old and struggling, he lifted her into the car to still get her there for the picture.
He said a clean DFU was a happy DFU, but really he meant a clean DFU was a happy Ken - and when he’d come in on Monday morning to find evidence of our weekend poker sessions, he was a very unhappy Ken with a loud voice.
During a Dartmouth RR I had to turn in a receipt for reimbursement for “party favors” for the afterparty and the receipt I turned in included my hair straightener I bought with groceries; for years he asked what we did with the “conair” at the party because he knew I couldn’t give him the full story.
He loved all artificial banana flavor things including yellow starbursts and banana taffy taffy. He always ordered the EBA healthy choice chicken sandwich on disclosure day.
It took years for me to convince him that the Brown Study and Brown Lounge were in fact *not* the exact same size.
On Wednesdays, he woke up early to make sure he got a pistachio muffin from Novack Cafe.
To my knowledge, he never loaded a single document to the DDI wiki despite me teaching him how every summer.
One summer he lost 30-40 pounds and told me he had started exercising and eating right. In further clarification that was (a) he walked from his apartment to Stinson’s to get cigarettes and (b) he had Dunkin coffee and a muffin for breakfast, Diet Coke for lunch, and a steak and baked potato for dinner.
When I was dieting and exercising like crazy for my wedding, he brought a fruit platter to lab.
He loved ice cream sandwiches and Sam Adams light.
When the college was being a pain about the DDI, Ken tried to convince me that no one would care if it was the “Dallas Debate Institute” and promised he’d teach for us for as long as necessary to make the camp work.
After my grandma died, he sent me flowers with a verbose note that said “To Nicole. From DFU”.
When he first got a cell phone, he would only turn it on when he wanted to make a call so he wasn’t too accessible.
He loved to golf and swore it counted as exercise.
He constantly emailed me with Fantasy Football roster changes I should make - and then followed up the next day if I hadn’t followed his advice.
He found some Dartmouth survey that Herb James did on Amazon, which I learned because he bought the digital document, printed it, scanned it, and then emailed me the scan.
I can’t hear the words/phrases “aloha”, “ridiculous,” and “begs the question” without thinking of his voice.
He knew a disgusting amount about the definition of the word “in.”
He knew every kid at the DDI’s name and school.
I saw him stay calm while dealing with some of the worst possible camp situations and show up ready to teach students just a few hours later.
I pronounce the word “prosciutto” as “pra-shet-ta” because that’s how Ken said it.

I’m so thankful for the opportunities, guidance, and kindness Ken gave me through the years. I can only hope my children have a teacher in their lives that have a fraction of the positive impact Ken had on me.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:46:01 AM
Chase Williams

I never had the pleasure of meeting Ken, but reading this and so many other wonderful tributes over the past few days has helped me appreciate one of the giants in our activity. Thank you for sharing, Nicole. This was beautiful.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:46:34 AM
James Herndon

I’ve been reading along. Haven’t posted. He was really important to me but was always way more important to people that were really close to me (like you and John and others) like your best friends dad that you were really jealous of because he was obviously a rock star.
The one thought I’ve been having the last few days is wondering who and where I should send the honey dipper to. I’ll never forget the two of you for reaching out to me in my biggest moment of need.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:47:18 AM
Sarah Elizabeth

 I’m so sorry for your loss, Nicole.

I was in the Gragert/Strange lab at DDI in 2003, and I planned to attend Dartmouth in fall 2004. In an odd twist, I got accepted to Stanford late off the wait list, and decided to make the move west instead of east. I remember emailing Ken to explain why I wouldn’t be coming to Dartmouth in the fall as I’d planned, and although he could have been mad or upset, he seemed genuinely happy that I’d found a good fit. It felt like he respected my autonomy to make that decision, even though my choice didn’t put my debate career first.

I’m glad to have known him, and again, so sorry for your loss.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:47:37 AM
Alma Nicholson

I am so sorry for your loss, Nicole. Ken was a great guy and an incredible life force. Your memories are precious!
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:48:00 AM
Meg Howell

Wonderful memories of a great man, mentor, and friend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 09, 2019, 07:48:34 AM
Jon Paul Lupo

Thanks so much for sharing. He will certainly be missed.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: Paul Elliott Johnson on April 09, 2019, 09:31:55 AM
Interactions with Ken at a tournament were always a blessing, he was jovial, hilarious, and a hell of a judge. More blessings are with us in the form of many of the debaters and coaches that Ken worked with at Dartmouth, a bunch of seemingly genial, nerdy goofs: that is, up until they absolutely annihilated you on some question which they had been thinking about since the pre-season, one which you, in your lack of wisdom and lack of proximity to Ken Strange, had only considered for the first time that morning when you looked at the pairing. At the next tournament, having thought about and worked on the question more, you would find, to your dismay, that they too had kept thinking and working on the problem. This also tended not to end well for you. I'm sure this is a testament to the kind of argument culture Ken fostered at Dartmouth. He will be missed.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 10, 2019, 06:40:52 AM
Andrew Leong

R.I.P Ken Strange

Every Dartmouth debater had a “Ken impression”—which typically involved dropping one’s voice an octave and slowing down to emphasize three *words*...*like*…*this*. But years after, I’ve come to understand “impressions of Ken” in a different way. They weren’t, and maybe never were, just about the superficial qualities of deep pitch and deliberate emphasis. The deeper, more lasting impressions that Ken left upon the debaters he coached reside somewhere else, in the fundamental clay of our habits of thought and action. At any given moment, one of Ken’s former debaters is a researcher who looks at one more source because they aren’t satisfied with current work on a topic, a writer who spends one more moment to find the core of an idea or a story, or an advisor who doesn’t presume to know or do everything for a student or client, but asks one more question that will help distill the clearest and most persuasive formulations of a project or case.

It’s spring in Berkeley, abundant rain has made everything bloom. I can’t help but think of a spring in Atlanta, sixteen years ago, and the last time I saw Ken really break down in tears. John and I had lost the last debate of our careers in the round of 32, and in a Bendaryl-ed and sleep-deprived haze of exhaustion I looked at Ken and thought—“Why is he crying like this? This loss is so small in the grand scheme of things.” As an oblivious twenty-one-year-old, who despite reading arguments against the calculability of human life in every other debate, still preferred the concrete and the countable, I could not understand that the loss Ken was mourning was not the loss of one debate, but the passing of four years of shared work and experience, an ending of a period beyond which only memory would permit return. That moment, and those years, are by any measure, only small fragments of the life that Ken lived. There is no formula that could give how much one ought to weep for Ken if Ken’s love and tears for others were the measure. There is no measure. There are no words for words like this.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 10, 2019, 06:45:09 AM
Madison Dallas Laird

Very sad to hear this news. His mentorship touched many lives.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 10, 2019, 08:32:32 AM
From David Baker:

We will gather to celebrate Ken’s life on Saturday afternoon, June 8, 2019 in Dallas Texas.  There will likely be informal gatherings on Friday and possibly Saturday evenings—because being among friends and telling war stories is good.  More details (including hotel options) will follow soon.  For planning purposes, we will use a to-be-determined RSVP system.  Once the RSVP system is up and running, feel free to share the link.

 

Several people have generously offered to help defray costs.  Please send me a private note if you are interested in helping.  After all the bills are paid, any remaining funds will be contributed to the “Dartmouth Forensic Union in memory of Ken Strange fund” at Dartmouth College.  Please feel free to contact me (214-500-8528 cell) if you have questions or concerns.

 

Ken will be interred on Wednesday, April 17 at a private family gathering in Oklahoma City.  At 1:00 p.m. (CST) next Wednesday, please observe a moment of silence and reflection.

 

See you in Dallas.

 

My best,

 

David 
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: burke on April 10, 2019, 09:16:38 AM
I was floored to hear of the passing of Ken Strange. He was a titan in the debate community. I can't believe he is gone.

I was in Ken's lab one summer at the DDI. And even though I was only his student for four weeks 18 years ago, I always felt like Ken cared about me and all his camp students. I stopped by a debate tournament a couple years ago and even though I'm sure it had been five years or more since I had seen him, Ken sought me out to say hello and ask about my life and career.

A few miscellaneous memories: Ken voted against me once on "fairness is bad" and laughed when I complained that the decision was unfair; the Dartmouth Round Robin was my single favorite debate event as a student and coach, and I've heard others voice similar opinions, and I think it was a reflection of Ken; Ken gave me work detail at the DDI for writing "Antonucci is watching" in duct tape on a dorm room wall, but rescinded it on the grounds that he found it funny; Ken was always part of the best NDT panel names: Strange Green Butt.

I will remember Ken for being so kind. My heart goes out to the Dartmouth and Wake programs and to the entire community.

-Ryan Burke
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 18, 2019, 08:55:08 PM
https://www.thedartmouth.com/article/2019/04/former-debate-coach-remembered-for-hard-work-intelligence


The Dartmouth, April 18, 2019


Former debate coach remembered for hard work, intelligence

by Lorraine Liu | 4/18/19 2:05am
4-18-19-strange-courtesy

Strange, center, helped lead the Dartmouth Forensics Union to three National Debate Tournament championships.
Source: Courtesy of John Turner

A legendary figure in the field of debate coaching, Ken Strange not only inspired many students with his hard work and strategic thinking, but also shaped college debate coaching.

“There are probably three or four debate coaches in the history of college debate in the United States who kind of stand in the similar competitive and influential point today,” said Dartmouth Forensics Union director John Turner ’03. “He was a part of a generation of coaches that really made the activity what it was.”

A former director of the Dartmouth Forensics Union for 35 years and founder of the Debate Institute at Dartmouth, Strange passed away on April 4, 2019 at the age of 69, according to his sister Kay Strange. He was interred yesterday at a private family gathering in Oklahoma City. He is survived by his sister and stepdaughter Lindsey Gideon.

“He showed me what hard work was,” Gideon said. “He was always there, he was reliable, he was kind [and] humble.”

Born and raised in Oklahoma, Strange demonstrated his intelligence at an early age, recalled Kay Strange.

“He was a precocious child, from what others have told me,” she said. “He was always a very bright student, he enjoyed school.”

Strange participated in debate throughout high school and continued to pursue this activity while he studied political science at Northwestern University. During his years of pursuing an undergraduate and master’s degree at Northwestern, he coached debate at local high schools. He taught debate at the University of Iowa before becoming the director of Dartmouth Forensics Union in 1980.

While coaching debate with DFU, Strange churned out teams of Dartmouth debaters who succeeded at debate tournaments across the country. Under his directorship, DFU won three National Debate Tournament championships, placed second five times and placed third nine times, according to a Facebook post by DFU.

Beyond that, under Strange’s leadership, Dartmouth consistently ranked as one of the top college debate teams in the country, according to Turner. He said that Strange had at least one team win an elimination round at the NDT for 30 years.

“That’s a competitive streak that is unlikely [to] ever be equaled in college debate,” Turner said.

According to Mark Koulogeorge ’85, Strange was known for his “unique level of engagement” with the debate team, as he helped students with research and argumentative strategies in addition to simply providing them with instructions. Koulogeorge and his teammate Leonard Gail ’85 were the 1984 National Debate Tournament champions with Strange as their coach.

“A lot of the coaches just provided advice, [but] he also helped us do research and worked aggressively with us on particular arguments.” Koulogeorge said. “As a result, he really inspired the rest of us to also work hard. He was a coach who was working with us, not just instructing us.”

Turner, who also trained with Strange while he was an undergraduate student at Dartmouth, echoed Koulogeorge’s sentiment about Strange’s strategic coaching style.

“Ken was someone who was very good at taking a set of information and turning it into a coherent strategy.” Turner said. “Not just knowing something about the topic, but knowing this is exactly where we want to aim our argument.”

Turner recalled that when he joined the team as a first-year without too much debate experience, he felt immediately welcomed because Strange assigned him to do research that later contributed to the work of advanced debaters.

“For him, the team was his family,” Koulogeorge said.

In 1986, Strange established the Debate Institutes at Dartmouth, which features premier summer debate workshops that train high school students for different types of debates, according to lifelong friend David Baker. Baker, who worked with him for 16 years, said that Ken started the Institutes because of his passion for bringing quality debate education to more students.

“I think Ken started the Institute because he really wanted to provide a high-quality program for exceptional students,” Baker said.

Apart from producing nationally successful policy debaters for more than 30 years, the Debate Institutes also attracts students to apply to Dartmouth. Steven Sklaver ’94, who attended two summer debate workshops at the institute before coming to Dartmouth and was a 1993 National Debate Tournament champion alongside Ara Lovitt ’94, said he applied to Dartmouth because of his high school debate experience with Strange.

“Ken is my Dartmouth experience,” Sklaver said. “He is the reason I went to Dartmouth and the reason I chose my roommate, and I am extremely grateful for it.”

After his directorship at Dartmouth ended in 2015, Strange worked as the assistant head coach at the Wake Forest University debate team for two years.

Strange inspired his students in many different aspects that are not limited to simply college debate. Craig Budner ’87, a member of the second-place team at the NDT in 1987, said that Strange taught him how to “work, research, and frame arguments in a way that someone else could understand.”

“I would say that he was probably the teacher who played the most influential role in my life,” Budner said. “He made me who I was, and I think about him every day.”

Correction appended (April 18, 2019): The original version of this article misspelled Kay Strange's last name. The article has been updated to reflect this change.
Tags: news, featured

Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on April 27, 2019, 08:46:31 AM
Friends,

 

The Budner family has made arrangements with Bent Tree Country Club in Dallas for Ken’s memorial service.  The service will start at 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 8.  The club is located north of I-635 near the North Dallas Tollway.  The address is:  5201 Westgrove Drive Dallas, TX 75248.  The service will be followed by a buffet reception (with a full bar) at the club.  Please feel free to post/forward this information.  For those traveling to Dallas, there are a wide range of hotel options—three properties convenient to Bent Tree are listed and linked below.

 

Westin Galleria Dallas

Renaissance Dallas

Dallas Marriott Quorum

 

If you are planning to attend, please follow this link:  
https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc6-ybBIBaaEiX0mIUQ-n3TOqeSDJFqdWsXncl4PVCktdXuDA/viewform
 and fill out the requested information.  Please feel free to share the RSVP link with others.  For planning/catering purposes, we need accurate attendance numbers.  Please complete the RSVP form by May 15, 2019.

 

A separate bank account has been established for memorial service expenses.  The suggested donation (dinner/full bar) is $50 per person.  Several Dartmouth alumni have generously pledged funds to ensure everyone who wants to attend may do so regardless of ability to contribute.  You may donate to the memorial services expense account through Zelle or by sending a check to me.  You may donate through Zelle from your bank or the Zelle app to David Baker, baker@smtexas.org. and write “Ken Strange Memorial Service” on the memo line.  If you do not have a Zelle account or would rather donate by check, then please make checks payable to David Baker and send to:

 

David Baker

St. Mark’s School of Texas

10600 Preston Road

Dallas, Texas 75230

 

Any remaining funds in the memorial service account will be donated to the Dartmouth Forensic Union “In memory of Ken Strange” fund.

 

Thank you for your patience.  I look forward to seeing all of you in Dallas.  Godspeed, and safe travels.

 
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on May 06, 2019, 02:33:38 PM
Kevin Kuswa
May 6 at 3:12 PM
 
Ken Strange was a major force (of Yoda levels) in the debate community for a long time and I was lucky to work for him for a few years in the 90s. Unfortunately, it looks like I will have to miss the gathering in June to celebrate his life so I want to share a story or two here. It’s hard to choose—there are so many great stories about his many stellar teams, about rounds he’s judged, about tournaments we attended, about the Dartmouth debate institute, or just about hanging around Hanover. The one I’d like to relate includes a little lesson about teaching that might be interesting to many of you, even if you did not know Ken.

It was the mid-90s and I was an excited young coach working for a great Dartmouth program with lots of motivated and talented debaters. In preparation for the Kentucky tournament that year, we all pitched in and tried to produce a viable case file against most of the big teams. My assignment was Michigan’s Afghanistan aff and I was asked to work with a few of the first-years to broaden our research base and give them a sense of what a decent case file should look like. Ken was optimistic about what we would produce, giving some key pointers on how to dismantle the aff and what the overall file should include. He was always really good at cutting to the core of an affirmative and isolating its weaknesses and what evidence was needed to really take a dent out of it.

We moved forward and the file started to take shape—all the bells and whistles: links to our big off-case DAs, a couple of advantage CPs that avoided the links to politics and a China influence DA (that Ken wrote—it was awesome), recent and nuanced case answers, including unique offense (Hekmatyar backlash, Paki border crossing, tribal moderation, etc.). It was a pretty sick file, well-organized, evidence highlighted, extensions written, copies made, and I even remember Steven Sklaver chipping in with some solid uniqueness cards for the case turns and Bill Russell found links to our BJP DA. So we head to Kentucky and, lo and behold, the round 5 pairings come out—posted on a wall at the time—and one of Dartmouth’s younger teams is debating one of the top teams from Michigan...and we were negative!

The round takes place, I forget who was judging, but the Dartmouth team ends up winning on a risk of the China DA and very little left on case. It was a huge win and we were all very excited. At the end of the day, Ken gathers all of us together before dinner and we’re going over the results from the day to allocate assignments for the elims. Ken tells the team how proud he is of everyone and how we still have work to do for the morning. Then, in a moment I will never forget, he stops for a second until he has everyone’s attention. In his deep voice he says, “You all, we had a really big win in round 5 against Michigan and I think we need to give props to the folks who put together our Afghanistan file, especially...,” (at this point I’m thinking he’s going to thank me for the work on the file and how useful it was, but, instead, he continued), “...especially young Jonathan for all his great work!”

Everyone started clapping for Jonathan and I was somewhat surprised. The young debater Ken was praising had been in the research group, but he hadn’t really turned anything in and was not a big part of the effort that went into the file...what was going on here? I thought about it a little more and it began to dawn on me—the coaches and experienced debaters did not really need recognition for their work on the file, but the young debater who received Ken’s praise really did. The more I thought about it the more it not only made sense to me, it became a microcosm of Ken Strange’s pedagogy: encouragement is currency and a team must use its currency wisely. Sometimes the best recipient of accolades is not necessarily the person who put in the most effort. Sometimes a little nod to someone learning the ropes can go a long way. What a lesson to learn! Recognition and encouragement can happen in many ways, making the craft of coaching about extending support to those at the bottom of the totem pole, not just a race to cut more cards. It was a profound moment and the lesson about the role of teaching was not lost on me.

A few weeks later the team was preparing for a regional tournament prior to Wake (probably West Point or Liberty) and we were getting together some new case files. The DUF was in Robinson Hall at the time and we would usually gather around the copy machine in order to make copies of the new assignments before leaving town. I was standing at the machine, double checking some of the files and stuffing manila folders with the fresh copies of our new material. As I was about to leave the office after most of the teams had collected their files and headed off to pack, I heard a voice from the hallway, “Wait, Coach, don’t turn off the machine yet, I have my file!” It was Jonathan. He had been given some of the new environmental cases to work on and handed me a thick folder of evidence. It could have used a bit more organization, but overall was really impressive—new research, recent cards, lots of case defense, and even some links to a few of our generics. Exactly what you would want—and he had done it all on his own. Would he have put that file together without Ken’s encouragement from Kentucky? Maybe—but maybe not. The point was that he felt connected to the team and wanted to put together a good file—he was invested. That’s something I always felt Ken was so good at—encouraging people to give 100%, to care what they were doing, to work together for a common objective. I owe Ken a lot for that message among many other things. RIP my friend.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on June 09, 2019, 05:57:44 AM
We had a fantastic time last night at  the Memorial Service for Ken Strange.  So many people from across the decades in debate showed up both from Dartmouth and from other schools.  It was so good to get to see people I hadn't seen in over 20 years.  There was a lot of love for Ken.  Thank you so much to David and Lori Baker for putting the service together.  I will be sharing the written comments from the program on this thread.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on June 09, 2019, 06:00:11 AM
Alex Berger:

Ken was family, and I miss him dearly.  I think daily about lessons I learned from one of the greatest educators on the planet: use HARD LABELS; turn your weakness into a strength; win with humility and lose with grace; whatever you're working on, you can always make it better; show up when it counts; measure success not by the points you score, but by the relationships you build; read every line of the travel memo.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on June 09, 2019, 06:01:59 AM
Avery Baker:

Surly, funny, imposing, genius, and uncouth are all adjectives I've heard used to characterize Ken Strange.  I, however, never fully knew the man those words described.  Instead I new the straw wrapper magician, the movie theater candy smuggler, the Dartmouth green racer, the professor of Maine lobster cracking, and the joker who always asked, "Are you speaking English?"  In a word, I knew the "sweet" Ken Strange -- Godfather to me and my brother Evan.  Uncle Ken.

Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on June 09, 2019, 06:04:21 AM
Scott Groussman:

How did Ken cope with wave after wave of debate mischiefs like us during our carefree rambunctious college days?  Nicotine, golf, blackjack and humor.  Ken's personal comedy channel: our antics and self-inflicted circumstances.  Never could he hide his amusement.  Cheshire grin, crunching forehead, instant sunburn, seizure-like body convulsions, culminating with an eruption of wheezy hee..hee..hee's.  The granite of New Hampshire privileged by Ken's friendship and laughter is made part of me 'til death.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on June 09, 2019, 06:05:57 AM
David Hung:

One of my fondest memories of Ken is the day I ran into him on Main Street and told him I'd gotten into law school.  He might've been happier than I was, giving me one of his trademark awkward high five-fist pumps.  It was just one reminder of how much he cared for us far more than as just debaters.  That or the time he taught me to play craps and I won over two grand.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on June 09, 2019, 06:07:43 AM
Mark Koulogeorge:

Teacher, Researcher, Travel Agent.
No fear of competing.  No fear of truth.
No need to hide behind a theoretical construct purposefully abstruse.
Hard work, not as a means, but as an end itself.
Dog eared pages on a cluttered bookshelf.
Humility, Laughter, Honesty.
Learning about team, it is bigger than me.
Big Bear, leading the band, delivering us up to the promised land.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on June 09, 2019, 06:09:44 AM
Christine Mahoney:

Ken Strange taught me the value of preparation, analytical rigor, and high expectations.  I am a better businessperson having been taught by him.  But for me, I recall most viscerally his refusal to allow gender exceptions to be a reason to abandon competitiveness and excellence.  When family obligations required my absence, he was sympathetic but equally concerned about when I would be back competing.  For a male debater such expectations would have been obvious.  For Ken to treat me with equally high expectations, regardless of gender, meant a lot to me.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on June 09, 2019, 06:11:32 AM
Ed Panetta:

I still vividly recall Ken pulling me aside during the quarterfinals of the 2003 NDT when Georgia and Dartmouth were debating.  I had returned to the conference center just as the debate was ending.  Ken told me to be ready to support my students (top seed expected to win) because they were about to lose and one of the students was a senior.  He took no joy in sharing that news with me -- he just wanted to make sure my team could make it through a difficult moment.  He was a role model for debate coaches everywhere.
Title: Re: Ken Strange
Post by: SherryHall on June 09, 2019, 06:13:10 AM
Karen McGaffey:

The debate team was much more than library research, brief writing and tournament competition.  It was the comradery and shared experience of the DFU.  Late nights, bad coffee, cutting cards, and trips to Gnomon Copy.  Lobster dinners and midnight visits to LL Bean.  Van rides to Logan, checking dozens of bags, and flying airlines that no longer exist.  We are a community of debaters and friends, and we've lost a good one.