Continuing the Tradition
University of the Pacific’s speech and debate team has had a long history of oratory excellence. In 1854, a group of students met and formed a college organization in which students could help each other “in the acquirement of an easy, graceful, and impressive manner of speaking, as well as skill in the use of language.” Over the years, Pacific debaters have continued to achieve success, regularly finishing in the top ten. Last year, the team ranked seventh in the nation out of 199 collegiate speech and debate teams.
This year, the team took two No. 1 national rankings. The No. 1 team ranking by the National Parliamentary Debate Association followed a strong performance in the Mile High Swing tournaments, which took place January 5-8 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Dallas Phillips ’18 and Paul Villa ’18, also placed first overall in the National Parliamentary Tournament of Excellence, earning the second No. 1 ranking.
“To have Pacific debaters in the No. 1 spot of two national rankings at the same time is extraordinary and I’m very excited for our team,” said Steven Farias, director of forensics. “This gives us great momentum going into the national championships in March.”
Pacific’s success helped the team finish with yet another top-5 sweepstakes award, as University of the Pacific placed third among all other universities. In individual events, Joslynn Howard ’19 and Andrew Morgan ’18 dominated their competition. Across two tournaments, Howard took six first-place wins, as well as a second- and third-place finish. Morgan earned three first- and four second-place wins. Pacific’s speech and debate team finished the day ranked as second overall in individual events.
The team will be heading to Southern California for the Point Loma Round Robin on February 10 and the Sunset Cliffs Classic, held February 11-12. Until then, the team continues to build its momentum toward continuing its national dominance.
“This is the type of opportunity – firsthand experience in national competitions providing real-world experience – we want for Pacific students during their time here,” said Rena Fraden, dean of College of the Pacific. “They know that if they commit their energies to working and studying hard, and listening to their dedicated professors, then they have the chance for great success.”
Learn more about the team’s latest win here.