Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2005-03-22

Two Samford University debate teams have been invited to the National Debate Tournament. They are among only 72 teams invited to the prestigious event which culminates the year for college debaters throughout the nation.

The Samford teams of Ashley Streat and Clark Bowers, and Nicholas Agnello and John Wilkerson will compete in the tournament to be held at Gonzaga University, Spokane, Wash., March 25-28.

The invitation was extended on the basis of their performance over the course of the academic year.

"This is really the apex of competitive debate," said Samford director of debate Dr. Mike Janas. "This invitation is a testament to our debate program, the quality of our students and the commitment of Samford University to be among the nation's elite universities."

During the year, Samford debaters have regularly faced competitors from such schools as Harvard University, University of Southern California and the University of Alabama.

Bowers is a sophomore political science major from Vestavia Hills.

Streat is a junior political science major from Leesburg, Ga.

Agnello is a freshman political science major from Snellville, Ga.

Wilkerson is a sophomore history major from Macon, Ga.

Bowers and Streat most recently finished fifth among 40 teams at the American Debate Association National Championships in Athens, Ga. They defeated Marquette University in the octafinal round before losing to Emory University in the quarterfinals.

Ben Coulter is Samford debate coach.


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. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 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 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.