McLeese Chair in Canadian Debating


Did you know that the most influential student debate program in Canada is based at UCC?

And that it helps thousands of Canadian high school students find their voice and learn the lifelong skill of persuasive public speaking?   

Thank you, Willis McLeese.

He generously endowed the Willis S. McLeese Chair in Canadian Debating, based here at Upper Canada College, in 2002. It works with the Canadian Student Debating Federation to bring young people across the country into this activity. McLeese believed that if students are given the skills and confidence to speak publicly and advocate positions, it will serve them well later in life.

"Debating is a way to extend your influence,” he said, adding, “Canada will always need great leaders.”

Mr. McLeese's son Rob was a graduate of UCC in 1971. Rob's three sons, Paul '01 and twins Geoff and Steve '03, are also graduates of UCC. Please visit this site for a full biography on Willis McLeese, who passed away in 2011

Rudi Lof, Willis S. McLeese Chair in Canadian Debating

Rudi Lof is an accomplished debater who has participated in the World Universities Debating Championship, the Canadian National Debate Championship and the Central Canadian Championships. He was the Hart House IV top speaker and the Chancellor’s Cup champion. He's a passionate proponent of debating who has served as the vice-president of the Ontario Student Debating Union, president of the York Debating Society and founder and president of the new Osgoode Debate Society. He's an associate at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.


Audio Clips

Theo Caldwell '91, former McLeese Chair, on the art of argument

Theo recommends ...

Student debaters Diane Shnier and Harris Kaufman '10 discuss health care with John Tory



Willis McLeese
Willis McLeese

rudi lof

Rudi Lof


Links of Interest

OSDU Debating Workshop
Includes podcast, videos and photos

Teaching the art of argument
by former McLeese Chair Theo Caldwell, Toronto Sun, February 2010

McLeese Debating
Official website of the joint endeavour between UCC and CSDF