February 3, 2014

Jessica Pope
Communications and Media Relations Coordinator

VSU Debate Team Wins at University of Tennessee Event

Pictured, from left to right, are Ryan Baerwalde, Don Cox II, J.B. Desselle, Hannah Tabrizi, Keven Rudrow, Kevin Bryant, Erin Taliaferro, Kyra King, and Dr. Michael Eaves. Not pictured are Mercy Dahn, Allante Fairley, and Nolan Ripple, who also competed in Tennessee. Other team members not pictured are Essence Oliver, Chesley McNeil, May Weaver, Ladaisha Wilson, Cam Johnson, Santrece Harris, Shayla Slappy, Ashilee Thomas, and Michael Widmer.

VALDOSTA — Valdosta State University’s Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team won a number of awards at the University of Tennessee’s third annual Volunteer Classic, held Jan. 17-19 on the Knoxville campus.

“VSU,” said Dr. Michael Eaves, director of forensics, “had the pleasure of competing against some well-known, well-established colleges and universities as well as some private colleges and universities and even some community colleges, [including the] University of Tennessee-Knoxville, Lenoir-Rhyne University, the University of North Georgia, Piedmont College, Middle Tennessee State University, Morehouse College, Tennessee State University, and Walter State Community College.”

At the Volunteer Classic, the VSU team debated in two different tournament formats, National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) and International Public Debate Association (IPDA). The team was awarded First Place Overall Sweepstakes, First Place Overall NPDA Sweepstakes, First Place Overall IPDA Sweepstakes, Overall Top Novice Debater, and the following:

• First Place, Varsity Division, NPDA

• First Place, Novice Division, NPDA

• Second Place, Novice Division, NPDA

• First Place, Novice Speaker, NPDA

• Second Place, Varsity Speaker, NPDA

• Third Place, Novice Speaker, NPDA

• First Place, Varsity Speaker, IPDA

• First Place, Novice Speaker, IPDA

• Third Place, Professional Speaker, IPDA

• Second Place, Varsity Division, IPDA

• Semifinalist, Novice, IPDA

• Semifinalist, Professional, IPDA

• Semifinalist, Varsity, IPDA

“I might also add that because of this tournament,” shared Kevin Bryant, assistant coach who accompanied the team Knoxville, Tenn., “VSU skyrocketed to 13th in the nation for NPDA rankings

The VSU Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team will next travel to San Diego, Calif., on Thursday, Feb. 6, to compete in the Sunset Cliffs Classic, hosted by Point Loma Nazarene University.

“This is a round-robin style tournament where only one team from the top 16 programs in the nation can compete against each other after successfully submitting a bid for competition,” said Bryant. “Never before has VSU been accepted to any round-robin tournaments. … we hope to represent both VSU and the Southeastern circuit well. Wish us luck!”

The VSU Forensics (Speech and Debate) Team is open to all majors on campus and does not require previous experience, Eaves noted. The team competes in regional and national level competitions and participates in parliamentary debate as well as individual events, such as impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, informative speaking, persuasion, dramatic interpretation, dramatic duo, poetry interpretation, and more.

Contact Dr. Michael Eaves at (229) 259-5116 or meaves@valdosta.edu for more information.

Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities.

The story above demonstrates VSU's commitment to meeting the following goals:

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.

Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.

Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Goal 5: Develop and enhance Valdosta State’s human and physical resources.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.