Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2004-03-18

Samford University debaters Jon Mann and James Phillips finished second at the recent Delta Sigma Rho-Tau Kappa Alpha national debate championship tournament held in Tuscaloosa. Debate teams from more than 25 universities competed at the national event.

Mann, a junior from Florence, and Phillips, a sophomore from Vestavia Hills, defeated another Samford team in the semi-final round before losing to the University of Alabama in the final round. Samford teammates David Li of Vestavia Hills and John Wilkerson of Macon, Ga., both freshmen, finished the tournament tied for third place with Alabama.

Wilkerson was rated the best individual debater at the tournament. Li, Phillips and Mann finished fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in individual rankings.

This year’s debate topic dealt with improving U.S. relations with Europe.

Dr. Michael Janas, Samford director of debate, received the DSR-TKA 2004 Service Award for his work directing the debate portions of the tournament for the past five years.


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.