Mercer Debater Cameron Wade Wins Dan Henning Award as Top Novice Speaker at NPDA Nationals

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Cameron Wade and Sanaa Yusuf

MACON – Mercer University sophomore Cameron Wade was named the top novice speaker in the country during the 24th annual National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) National Championship Tournament, held March 12-14 at McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois.

Wade, a religion and women’s and gender studies double-major, is the third Mercer student to win the Dan Henning Top Novice Speaker Award. He follows Jaz Buckley, who swept the awards for top novice speaker and top overall speaker as a freshman in 2015, and Yasmeen Hill, who was top novice speaker as a sophomore last year.

Buckley, Hill and Wade are the first three African Americans to win the Dan Henning Award.

Wade’s partner, Sanaa Yusuf, a sophomore psychology major, was third-place speaker at nationals, and both debaters made it to the final round of the tournament.

“Cam and Sanaa are two of the most talented debaters I have ever known,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, director of debate. “This is the start of a truly remarkable debate career. In a larger sense, it speaks to what truly makes Mercer truly special – student excellence coupled with meaningful diversity. I could not be more proud of everyone on Mercer’s team.”

“I might have won first-place speaker, but debate is a team sport,” added Wade. “I couldn’t have done it without our amazing captains Taylor Cole and Eduardo Rubio and teammates Yasmeen Hill and Cameron Dawkins, but most of all, I could not have done it without my fantastic partner Sanaa Yusuf. If I’m eating, the whole team’s eating. That’s just the way it works.”

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