Cal Poly Debate is as old as the institution. The university's first trophy was a silver loving cup presented to the winner of a series of debates between California Polytechnic School and San Luis Obispo High School. Held in 1904 and 1905, the accounts of the debates were prominently reported on the front page of the San Luis Obispo Morning Tribune. In 1906, when Cal Poly students published the first issue of the school's original newspaper -- the monthly Polytechnic Journal -- the lead story recounted the history of the debate trophy. This historic silver cup and debate awards of more recent vintage are on display in the English building lobby.
- History of Cal Poly's First Trophy taken from "Debating," California Polytechnic School Polytechnic Journal, January 1906
- Cal Poly Debate History: The First Debate taken from "The Polytechnic Wins," San Luis Obispo Morning Tribune, May 14, 1904
- Cal Poly Debate History: The Rematch taken from "The Polytechnic Wins," San Luis Obispo Morning Tribune, May 5, 1905
Since 1970, Cal Poly Debate has recognized one of the debate students as the season's "Outstanding Debater." Click the link below for a complete list of the award winners.
From 1982 to 1994 students in the program also participated in individual speaking events competition. During that period, Cal Poly Debate recognized one of the individual events students as the season's "Outstanding Individual Events Competitor." Click the link below for a complete list of the award winners.