Published on January 30, 2012  

The Pittsburgh, Penn., area was snowy and cold last weekend, but a Samford University debate team was hot as it finished second at a by-invitation tournament held there for the nation’s top 25 teams.

Samford debaters Dan Bagwell and Jacob Lewis advanced to the final round after winning preliminary rounds against Wichita State, Harvard University, Liberty University, Wake Forest University, University of Georgia and University of Texas-Dallas.

The duo lost the final round to the University of California-Berkeley in a 2-1 split decision.

Bagwell, a senior journalism and mass communication major from Blakely, Ga., was named second best speaker at the tournament.  Lewis is a senior history major from Monticello, Fla.

The tournament was hosted Jan. 20-22 by the University of Pittsburgh for the nation’s top 25 teams, as ranked by a poll of U.S. collegiate debate coaches.

“The performance cements the team’s standing among the top 25 teams in the nation, proving that Samford debate competes and beats the best,” said Samford director of debate Dr. Ryan Galloway, adding that the team was greeted by almost six inches of snow during the tournament.

Weekend highs barely moved above freezing in Pittsburgh, while back on the Samford campus, Birmingham temperatures climbed to the high 60s.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.