UM Forensics Team Extends Winning Streak at ‘Great Debate’

Great Debate

Mary Gray (left) and the Rev. LaSimba Gray (right) present Even Kirkham and Evan Wood with the championship trophy from The Great Debate in Memphis. Kirkham and Wood are members of the University of Mississippi forensics team, which has piled up plenty of awards in recent competition across the country.

OXFORD, Miss. – Two members of the University of Mississippi’s forensics team have proven again they are a “small but mighty force,” coming out as winners of “The Great Debate.”

Evan Kirkham, a public policy leadership major from Dallas, and Austin “Woody” Wood, a sophomore political science major from Southlake, Texas, competed in an exhibition debate March 1 in Memphis against students from Wiley College of Marshall, Texas.

The debate topic was “Resolved: President Barak Obama should be re-elected.” Kirkham and Wood were prepared to debate either side of the argument, but Ole Miss won the coin toss and debated the affirmative.

“Their case for the affirmative was thought-provoking, evidence-based and laced with the type of rhetoric that both inspires and promotes thought,” said JoAnn Edwards, director of forensics in the university’s Lott Leadership Institute. “They represented Ole Miss with dignity and grace, and as their coach I am extremely proud.”

Wiley College was documented in the 2007 movie “The Great Debaters,” for beating the national championship University of Southern California team in the 1930s. The movie starred Denzel Washington.
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