Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2010-09-24


A young Samford University debate team is starting the season in high fashion. In their first competiton of the year, junior varsity debaters Kaitlin Defoor and Robert Walker brought home top honors from a  tournament hosted by Georgia State University Sept. 17-20.

Defoor, a sophomore, and Walker, a freshman, defeated a University of Louisiana Lafayette team on a 3-0 decision in the final round. The pair earlier bested Vanderbilt University in a 3-0 decision in the semi-final round and University of South Florida-St. Petersburg in a 3-0 decision in the quarter final. They won five of six preliminary rounds to qualify for the final rounds.

“Although Samford has been to the finals in junior varsity in previous years,” said debate coach Abi Williams, “this is the first time in recent memory that we’ve had a team win the tournament.”

Both debaters were cited individually.  Walker, a psychology major from Bonaire, Ga., was named second place over all speaker. Defoor, a political science major from Resaca, Ga.,  was named fifth place speaker.

Also in junior varsity completion, freshmen Garrett Vande Kamp and Matt Sessions, in their first-ever college debate, advanced to the quarter-final round before losing a close 2-1 decision to a University of Louisiana Lafayette team.

Samford varsity debaters Logan Gramzinski and Dan Bagwell finished preliminary rounds as the 22nd seed out of 170 competing teams. They were defeated in an elimination round by a top 25 team from the University of Georgia.


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 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 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.