Hooked on Tuna | 20/20 Hindsight | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Hooked on Tuna 

click to enlarge Alfred "Tuna" Snider - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Alfred "Tuna" Snider

Originally published August 25, 2004

Alfred “Tuna” Snider, one of the world’s most widely recognized debate coaches and scholars, has been an endowed professor of forensics at the University of Vermont since 1982.

In his 30 years as a debate coach — he taught at several colleges before coming to UVM — he’s written several textbooks, edited critical journals and traveled the globe teaching seminars on debate.

The sport is more than just a game to the 53-year-old Snider — it’s a vehicle for social change. When he talks, he sounds more like a prophet than a college professor. “I have an agenda,” he admits frankly during an interview in his Clark Street apartment in Burlington. “My agenda is to fight back the darkness by trying to bring the light of human reason. I want to replace weapons with words. I want every citizen to be a debater.”

That’s a heavy mission, but the iconoclastic Snider also likes to have fun. His apartment is full of goofy stuff — a jar of rubber bugs, several Jesus action figures, posters of the British sci-fi show “Dr. Who.” When your nickname is Tuna, you can’t be serious all the time.

Alfred “Tuna” Snider died on Friday, December 11. Read more about his life in Soundbites.

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About The Author

Cathy Resmer

Cathy Resmer

Deputy publisher Cathy Resmer is an organizer of the Vermont Tech Jam. She also oversees Seven Days' parenting publication, Kids VT, and created the Good Citizen Challenge, a youth civics initiative. Resmer began her career at Seven Days as a freelance writer in 2001. Hired as a staff writer in 2005, she became... more

About the Artist

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen was a photographer for Seven Days 1995-2018. Read all about his life and work here.


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