David Zarefsky (C68, GC69, GC74)
David Zarefsky of Houston, Texas, joined the Northwestern debate team as a freshman in 1964. He was a member of the top two-person team for two years (1966-67 with Mike Denger and 1967-68 with Garry Mathiason). During his two years on NU’s top team, David won 11 of 22 (or 50%) of the debate tournaments he entered, including the Harvard Invitational Tournament two years running (1967 with Mike Denger and 1968 with Garry Mathiason), going undefeated both years. He reached the quarter-finals of the National Debate Tournament in both 1967 and 1968. He was top speaker at the NDT in 1968, and placed third in 1967.
As a junior, David and Mike Denger had an overall win-loss record of 75-15. They won five of ten tournaments entered (University of Kentucky, University of Chicago, Harvard University Invitational, California Institute of Technology, and University of Southern California), placed second at Redlands and Brandeis, and reached the quarter-finals at three others (Miami, Georgetown, and the National Debate Tournament). During a four week period in 1967, David and Mike won 32 consecutive debates and three tournaments (Harvard, Cal Tech and Southern Cal), an NU record for consecutive wins. David was top speaker at Kentucky, Redlands and Southern California (where he did not drop a single speaker point), second at Miami, third at Harvard, Georgetown, and the National Debate Tournament, and fourth at Brandeis. David and Mike both finished in the top five speakers at all nine tournaments they entered that gave speaker awards
As a senior, David, with partner Garry Mathiason, won six of 14 tournaments entered and had an overall win-loss record of 121–24. The tournaments they won were the Harvard Invitational (for the second year in a row), Brandeis, Georgetown, Tulane, Stanford, and the District V qualifying tournament for the NDT. David and Garry also reached the semi-finals at five other tournaments including Kentucky, Houston, Redlands, Emory, and the Michigan State “Tournament of Champions,” as well as the quarters at Dartmouth. Of the 12 tournaments he entered that had speaker awards, David received the top speaker award at 10 — Harvard, Brandeis, Redlands, Stanford, Ohio State, Tulane, Houston, Kentucky, Dartmouth, Michigan State, and the National Debate Tournament, was second at Emory, and sixth at Georgetown. He holds the career record (15) and single season record (10) for most top speaker awards received in NU debate history prior to 1980.
David also was Coach of Debate at Northwestern from 1970 to 1975. His teams won numerous debate tournaments, and 10 of his teams participated in the National Debate Tournament, including 1973 NDT champions Ron Marmer and Elliot Mincberg.