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UT Tyler’s Debate Team Finishes Banner Year Fourth in Nation

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April 3, 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)

April 3, 2012

The University of Texas at Tyler debate team finished the 2011 – 12 season in the top five in the country after completing the National Parliamentary Debate Association’s national tournament at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Wa., Dr. Martin Slann, College of Arts and Sciences dean, announced.

Senior economics major Alex Warren of Tyler and senior communication and political science double major Travis Smith of Palestine received the honor. Nearly 165 teams from across the country attended, including University of California – Los Angeles, Pepperdine University, Texas Tech University, Purdue University, Notre Dame University and Mercer University.

“I am extremely proud of Alex and Travis. They are one of the greatest teams to have ever debated in parliamentary debate,” said Dr. Charles Walts, assistant professor and director of forensics. “I will miss them. When you spend weekends on the road and hundreds of hours preparing, you become close friends and allies.”

The seniors had one of the most successful seasons in the history of parliamentary debate, appearing in seven final rounds, having four first place finishes and holding the #1 rank for the majority of the competitive season, Walts added.

They also hold records for the most number of wins, most career season-long points and most debates in history, according to the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.

Walts said he anticipates the program growing, as more students will attend UT Tyler to join the debate team and become a part of a winning culture.

The debate season consists of several tournaments spanning September through March located throughout the country.

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.
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