Mercer Debate Team Off to Strong Start to 2016-2017 Season


MACON – Mercer's debate team began the 2016-2017 season with a strong showing at the University of North Georgia last weekend.

Mercer was the only institution to reach the finals in all three styles of debate offered at the competition – National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA), International Public Debate Association (IPDA) and World Schools Style (WSS).

Juniors Kyle Bligen and Jaz Buckley reached both the NPDA and WSS finals, while sophomore Cassie Malcolm made the IPDA finals. Additionally, junior Daniel Alvarez and sophomore Keanu Lowo qualified for the NPDA quarterfinals. Junior Kevin Lee-Alston advanced to the IPDA elimination rounds, and Lowo and sophomore Garret Williams reached the WSS elimination rounds in the first-year division.

Individually, Bligen was named second-place speaker and Buckley sixth in NPDA.

“As the presidential debates highlight, effective oral communication is one of the most important skills that a university can teach its students,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, assistant professor and director of debate. “As these results highlight, Mercer is one of top universities in teaching students the skills they need to succeed – not only in college – but throughout their entire life. I could not be more proud of every one of these remarkable students.”

The team is currently preparing for upcoming competitions in Kentucky, Utah and California.