Mercer Debate Team Successfully Begins Season at Nationally Competitive Invitational in Missouri


MACON – Mercer University's debate team began the 2017-2018 season with a top-four finish in the varsity division and first place in the novice division Sept. 15-17 at the Georgia B. Bowman Invitational hosted by William Jewell University in Liberty, Missouri.

The experienced pairing of seniors Kyle Bligen, a politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) major, and Jaz Buckley, a political science and women's and gender studies double-major, reached the semifinal round before being eliminated by eventual winner the University of California, Berkeley.

Sophomores Taylor Cole, an accounting and communications double-major, and Eduardo Rubio, a mathematics, economics and computer science triple-major, won the novice division in their first tournament as a duo.

“This tournament was a massive victory for Mercer University,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, director of debate. “William Jewell's annual invitational is a top-tier, nationally competitive tournament. The schools that won nationals each of the last three years all attended, and Mercer defeated all of them. I could not be prouder of each of these debaters and their continued success.”

The debate team will continue the season at the Golden Gate Invitational, Oct. 28-29, at the University of California, Berkeley.

Kyle is senior director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he serves as editor of the Mercerian alumni magazine and News@Mercer e-newsletters, and he coordinates hometown and university news releases.