Published on September 21, 2020 by Sean Flynt  
Debate 2020
Samford debaters celebrate their first successes of the season

Samford University’s debate team continues to shine even in the pandemic-transformed world of intercollegiate competition. At the virtual season opener hosted by Northwestern University Sept. 18-21, the varsity team of Sawyer Emerson and Maddox Gates lost a close double-octo finals debate to Dartmouth but finished as the 16th seed, defeating teams from Georgetown University and Harvard University along the way. The varsity team of Joey Tarnowski and Alyssa Gregory also competed, defeating teams from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Central Oklahoma.

The junior varsity team of Max Willinger and Taijah Clark lost a close debate to the  University of Southern California but also finished in the top 16. Willinger was named the 8th speaker overall in junior varsity and Clark was named 10th speaker.

“Overall, it was an incredibly impressive start to the year,” said Assistant Debate Coach Lee Quinn. “I know our squad is fired up to continue progressing and capitalize on this momentum.”

Samford's celebrated debate program dates from the founding of the university as Howard College in 1841. Since then, its successes have included three national championships and top national honors for individual debaters and coaches. The program continues to earn honors at regional and national tournaments.

In addition to its nationally competitive teams, the program also hosts the Summer Debate Institute, the Samford University Public Debate Series, the Bishop Guild Debate Tournament, and the Birmingham Area Debate League.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.