Gazebo Gazette

MISSISSIPPI STATE (GG) — Claire Carter of Pass Christian, Mississippi, is a member of Mississippi State’s Debate Team, which claimed this year’s national championship.  The MSU Debate Team claimed top honors at the April 2024 International Public Debate Association National Tournament.

In another first, MSU also served as the tournament host, with 50 colleges and universities making their way to Starkville to compete for national titles.  Carter, a senior Computer Science major, is being recognized for outstanding personal achievements and team contributions.

The International Public Debate Association is the largest intercollegiate debating association in the U.S., with more than 200 colleges and universities from across the country competing in IPDA tournaments in 2023-24. IPDA debating emphasizes a mix of logic, rhetorical skill and adaptability, as students debate a new topic each round and have only 30 minutes to prepare.

The MSU team squared off over four days of competition against hundreds of top competitors from programs across the country, including the universities of Arkansas, Alabama, Tennessee, and Southern Methodist, Boise State, Cal State, Abilene Chris- tian, Dallas Baptist and Union universities.

MSU posted a remarkable 66% win rate in preliminary rounds at the national tournament against the top teams in the country, advancing more debaters to elimination rounds than any other school.

For the overall season, MSU won the overall championship at five of the seven tournaments attended by the full squad. In three of five debate divisions-Team Debate, Varsity and Professional-MSU was ranked first for the season by IPDA, placing second in Novice and Junior Varsity.

The MSU Debate Team was founded eight years ago as part of the university’s Speech and Debate Council, coached by Brett Harvey, Cheryl Chambers and Jake Reed.

“Beginning with just a handful of debaters, this team has grown into a national powerhouse, winning titles throughout the Southeast and around the country. Through the support of the university, the talent of the students, and the dedication of the coaches, we’ve built something really special,” said Harvey, who also serves as the university’s director of federal regulatory compliance. Chambers and Reed are faculty members in the communication and geosciences departments, respectively.  “This championship is the culmination of nearly a decade of work by many dozens of people, including not only current debaters and coaches, but also alumni, administrators-including [MSU President] Dr. Keenum and [MSU Provost] Dr. Shaw-parents and even students who never debated but volunteered to serve as judges,” Harvey added.

Mississippi State University is a national STEM-focused, doctoral degree-granting, land-grant university offering a wide range of educational experiences for learning and growth to a diverse student body of approximately 23,000 students.

Among the National Science Foundation’s Top 100 research universities, MSU provides access and opportunity to students from all 50 states and 86 countries. MSU is committed to its comprehensive research university mission, addressing complex local and global issues with innovative ideas and solutions.

Front Photo: The MSU Debate Team claimed the national championship at the April 2024 International Public Debate Association National Tournament. Members include, first row, from left: Claire Carter, Tanner Marlow, Guillermo Hoff- man, Lindsay Culpepper, Claire Green, Anoop Mishra; second row, from left: Isaac Riggins, Anamica Khadgi, Hannah Daniels; third row, from left: Luke Chaney, Asahi Lama Sherpa, Samata Luintel, Pragati Gautam, Joseph “Hays” Romano; fourth row: Nicolas Neal, Devin Hutchins, George Utz, Evan Garrison, William Harvey, and Dustin Gavins. (Photo by Jonah Holland).