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The 2020 Alumni Debate: “Is Following Your Passion the Path to Success?”

January 16 @ 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm

As part of a long tradition of inter-generational debate and intellectual spirit, the Hart House Debates and Dialogue Committee is delighted to invite you to be part of the Annual Alumni Debate in the 100th year of Hart House. Join current student debaters, esteemed alumni, and members of the Hart House community to reminisce and reconnect, while celebrating the spirit of lively debate that has played a defining role in the educational experience of many. This year’s debate will feature Professor Joy Fitzgibbon and Professor Randy Boyagoda, who will be accompanied by world-class student debaters from Hart House.

The event is free, and will conclude with a catered post-reception for all attendees!


What are you passionate about in life? Are you doing what you love to do?

Nowhere are such ubiquitous questions asked more frequently than the halls of universities and workplaces. While cliché and volumes of advice columns suggest that pursuing a life centered around your passions will provide maximal fulfillment and success, is this advice still relevant in the hyper-competition of the 21st century?


“THR the Narrative that Following Your Passion is the Path to Success”


Where: Hart House East Common Room

When: 7-9pm, January 16th, 2020

7:00 – 9:00pm: debate

9:00 – 10:00pm: post-debate reception


Chair: Gautier Boyrie, Hart House Debating Club President

Randy Boyagoda, Alumni debater for side government

Randy Boyagoda is the Principal of St.Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. Writer, critic and scholar, he is the author of three novels, a SSHRC-supported critical biography, and a scholarly monograph. His fiction has been nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize (2006) and IMPAC Dublin Literary Prize (2012), and named a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice Selection (2012). He contributes essays, reviews, and opinions to publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, First Things, Commonweal, Harper’s, Financial Times (UK), Guardian, New Statesman, Globe and Mail, and National Post, in addition to appearing frequently on CBC Radio. He served as President of PEN Canada from 2015-2017. His third novel, Original Prin, was published in 2018.

James Coady, Student Debater for side government

James Coady is a fourth-year student at the University of St. Michael’s College at the University of Toronto. James debated for three years for the Hart House Debating Club, and the Copenhagen Business School Debating Society. He served for one year on the executive of the former, and was Tournament Director for the 2018 North American Debating Championships.

Joy Fitzgibbon, Alumni debater for side opposition

Joy Fitzgibbon is Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Margaret MacMillan Trinity One Program at Trinity College in the University of Toronto and  a Fellow of College. Joy’s research focuses on the ways in which we can respond more effectively and compassionately to human suffering in the areas of global health policy and violence against women. She is exploring new modalities of pedagogy that enable us to learn, live and serve our communities in integrated and sustainable ways. She has served on the Board of two not for profit organizations, on the University of Toronto’s  Academic Board, as Faculty Advisor to Hart House Debates and Dialogues Committee and currently serves on the Senate at Trinity College and as Chair of the Senior Common Room. She was honoured to join a number of her colleagues in receiving the inaugural Chancellor William C. Graham Award for service to the Trinity College community.

Deborah Wong, Student Debater for side opposition

Deborah Wong is a third-year student at Trinity College in the University of Toronto. She is pursuing a specialist degree in Political Science with a focus on the political and economic development in the Global South.

She is currently a competitive local and international debater for the Hart House Debating Club. Some of her achievements include having recently made an appearance in the grand finals as well as being crowned the runner-up of the coveted Oxford University Intervarsity Debating Championship in Oxford, England. Also, she was the recent finalist of the National British Parliamentary Championship as well as being named the 8th best speaker of Canada.


Tickets are free.

Given that we are hosting this event at the University of Toronto Downtown Campus (UTSG), all non-UTSG students have the opportunity to be reimbursed for their travel expenses. Please get in touch with us at hhddc.communications@utoronto.ca if you are interested.

For other accessibility inquiries and requests, please contact marco.adamovic@utoronto.ca.


For any additional queries, feel free to connect with us at hhddc.communications@utoronto.ca.


Hart House Debates & Dialogue Committee


Hart House
7 Hart House Circle
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3H3 Canada
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