News Release

New Evangel University debate team debuts with a first-place win

November 14, 2013 | Anna Lester

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. –– Evangel University’s debate team earned first place in an International Public Debate Association tournament on Sunday, Oct. 28. This is Evangel’s first debate team to be formed in a quarter century.

“We are excited that Samuel Montgomery and Savannah Whipple earned first place in the first tournament in which Evangel has competed in 25 years,” said Dr. Glenn Bernet, vice president for academic affairs.

“Forensics is an interdisciplinary activity that helps with critical thinking skills, negotiating, good oratory and teamwork,” said Dr. Joy Qualls, assistant professor of communication and rhetoric. “The first showing was a real confidence booster for the students and is an encouragement to keep working hard to demonstrate that EU can compete at all levels of academic excellence.”

Student debaters compete as part of Evangel’s speech team, directed by Qualls and Dr. Mark Kelton, professor of communication. The team participates in national and international forensics and debate tournaments.

The tournament was hosted by John Brown University. Evangel sent two pairs of student debaters and four additional students competing in individual speech events.


  • Samuel Montgomery, freshman biblical studies major from Waterford, Mich. – First place, team debate
  • Savannah Whipple, freshman psychology major from Enid, Okla. – First place, team debate
  • Erin-Rae Donaldson, senior communication studies major from Springfield, Mo.
  • Anna Lester, senior communication studies major from Broken Bow, Okla. – Fourth place, individual speaker

Individual Speech Events

  • Laramy Hankins, freshman advertising/public relations major from Everton, Mo. – Impromptu Speaking, semifinalist
  • Andrew Henderson, junior communication studies and international studies major from Pittsburgh, Pa. – Dramatic Duo, semifinalist
  • Bethany Thomas, senior film and theatre/speech education major from Dalhart, Texas – Dramatic Duo, semifinalist
  • Autumn Walker, junior communication studies major from Bolivar, Mo. – Persuasive Speaking

For additional information, contact Dr. Mark Kelton at (417) 865-2815, ext. 8411.

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