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UT Tyler Debate Team Awarded Top Seed for National Tournament

February 15, 2012

Media Contact:  Hannah Buchanan
Public Affairs Specialist
Marketing and Communications
The University of Texas at Tyler
903.565.5769 or 903.539.7196 (cell)

The University of Texas at Tyler’s record-holding debate team received top honors at a recent tournament held at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, Calif., Dr. Martin Slann, College of Arts and Sciences dean, announced.

Seniors Alex Warren of Tyler and Travis Smith of Palestine received two second-place finishes for their performance, positioning them for a top seed at the national tournament. This marks the first time UT Tyler has been awarded such a seeding.

The national tournament invites the top 64 teams in the country to debate for the national championship in a format similar to that used in collegiate athletics. The duo is currently ranked in the top three among more than 300 teams in the country competing in the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.

“It’s exciting to have a legendary team like Alex and Travis that have really left their mark on debate, and I am enthusiastic for the future of the program,” said Dr. Charles Walts, UT Tyler director of forensics.

Regardless of the tournament results, they will finish the season as one of the best debate teams in the country, tying or breaking several records for most wins, number of final round appearances and winning percentage, he added.

“The UT Tyler debate team has sustained a remarkable winning record and secured a national reputation as one of the best parliamentary debate teams in the nation. Their success is a tribute to the hard work and talent of the debaters and to the first-rate coaching skills of Dr. Charles Walts,” said Dr. Dennis Cali, UT Tyler Department of Communication chair.

The university’s program competes in both NPTE and the National Parliamentary Debate Association, with respective championships on March 16 – 19 and March 21 – 24.

For more information, contact Walts, 903.565.5627 or

One of the 15 campuses of the UT System, UT Tyler offers excellence in teaching, research, artistic performance and community service. More than 80 undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available at UT Tyler, which has an enrollment of almost 7,000 high-ability students at its campuses in Tyler, Longview and Palestine.