History of Dialectic

The earliest paper records of the society are dated from the 1770’s and we were involved in the founding of Glasgow University Union (GUU) in 1885 and the Students Representative Council (SRC) in 1886. When Pope John Paul II visited Scotland in 1982 he issued a ‘Papal letter’ recognising the society’s claim to being established in 1451.

The society has supported debaters who have won the Mace Debating championship and the World Universities Debating Championships for the GUU. Most recently our President for 2016 – 2017, Bethany Garry, won the European Debating Championship for 2017 along with long time member and friend of the society, Owen Mooney. Bethany also ranked as the best individual speaker of the Tournament, with Owen also coming 3rd.

Many of the most famous and illustrious alumni of the University have been members of our society, such as Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox, Leader of the Liberal Democrats and former Rector of the University Charles Kennedy and acclaimed broadcaster and Journalist Andrew Neil. We maintain close relationships with many of our Alumni, who kindly support the society and our current endeavours.

In recent years, the Dialectic Society has concentrated on bringing controversial and current topics to the forefront of discussion and debate at Glasgow. We have collaborated with various clubs and societies on campus to bring a range of exciting topics to our membership, and have discussed everything from medical ethics to environmental issues.

The University archive maintains several collections of records from the society stretching from the 1880’s up to the 1980’s, with several notable items from the collection now scanned and available to view on the archive section. We also maintain records of order papers and materials from GUU Parliamentary debating which we have received over the years, which are also available in our archive section.

As of 2018, the society is currently in the process of launching a history project, to help consolidate our archives and add more information to them. We are always keen to hear from previous members to add to our collection and make available any materials from their time in Glasgow that we hold.

Feel free to have a browse through our archives.