January 25, 2007

SIUC debaters finish third in 80-team national tournament

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University Carbondale forensics students continue to impress the debating world.

The team of Kyle B. Dennis, a junior majoring in economics from Blue Springs, Mo., and Justin J. Hingtgen, a senior majoring in business management from West Des Moines, Iowa, finished third earlier this month at a national debate tournament hosted by the University of Denver.

The competition drew 80 debate teams from dozens of American colleges and universities. The SIUC squad defeated teams from Pepperdine University, University of Washington, University of Oregon and Purdue University.

"SIU once again showed that we have one of the best debate programs in the United States," said Todd Graham, director of SIUC's debate program, which is part of the speech communication department in the College of Liberal Arts.

Last month, the crew competed at the World Universities Debating Championships in Vancouver, British Columbia. Hosted by the University of British Columbia, the seven-day competition featured more than 200 teams from around the world.

"This was the first trip to the World Championship for the Salukis, so the team knew the competition would be fierce," said Graham.

Dennis and Hingtgen had strong showings there as well, finishing in the middle of the pack. They defeated teams from The University of Sidney and The London School of Economics and Political Science. "It was a tremendous learning experience. The debaters and coaches all felt like it was a real honor to simply have competed," Graham said.

The SIUC debate team is a member of the National Parliamentary Debate Association and the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence.