Friday, February 21, 2014
The University of West Georgia varsity debate team, of junior Marquis Ard and sophomore Hakeem Muhammad, earned a first round at-large bid to participate in the 2014 National Debate Tournament. First round bids, voted on by a national selection committee, are based on regular season results and are only awarded to the top 16 teams in the country.
UWG has been awarded a first round bid 21 times in its history. Since 2000, the university has been awarded nine first round bids, making UWG eighth best in the nation, surpassed only by Northwestern, Emory, Michigan State, Wake Forest, Cal-Berkeley, Harvard and Dartmouth.
“Hakeem and Marquis have had a fantastic year, and are well-deserving of the bid,” said Dr. Michael Hester, dean of UWG Honors College and Trans-disciplinary Programs and director of debate. “Hakeem and Marquis just began debating together this year, and as the season has progressed, they have established themselves as one of the best teams in the country.”
The American Debate Association also recognized UWG among the top 10 in junior varsity and novice level debate, a national ranking based on cumulative points.
“Unlike our peers, who may have as many as 30-40 debaters on their squad, we only have eight debaters who have traveled to tournaments this season,” said Hester. “Maria Zapata, Monique Hyman, Abigail Samuda, Chris Kelly, Tyler Mauro and Malia Villanueva also deserve special recognition for their contributions this season.”
The junior varsity and novice level debaters will attend the regional championship Feb. 22-23 at Emory University. The varsity team is preparing for the two national tournaments, CEDA Nationals and the NDT, both held at Indiana University in March.
“It is testament to the tremendous efforts of our students and assistant director Sarah Lundeen that UWG Debate is able to successfully compete against the top research universities in the world,” said Hester. “The institutional support we have received since Dr. Chester Gibson first put UWG Debate on the national map has been instrumental to our success. We are proud to represent UWG as a leader in critical thinking, public policy research and argumentation when we take on the best and brightest across the country.”