About Debate

Why Debate?

Students are able to not only gain knowledge and skills of rhetoric and persuasion, but a close-knit community in which they are able to meet people from all walks of life. Scholarships are available.

Students who have debate experience are preferred, although novices are welcome as well.


The team travels all over the nation, from local trips in Georgia to the coasts of California, all at no cost to the members of the team.  Tournaments for 2015-16 attended were:

Oct. 23-24            
Blazer Classic 
Valdosta State University

Nov. 20-22
Surf n’ Turf Tournament
Florida International University/Miami Dade College

Sunset Cliffs Classic Invitational Tournament
Point Loma Nazarene Uiversity

Feb. 26-28
Georgia Parliamentary Debate Association (State Tournament)
University of North Georgia

Mar. 18-21
NPDA National Championship Tournament
California State University-Long Beach


History of Mercer Debate

The University maintains a long tradition of debate on campus since its founding in Penfield more than 180 years ago, with debate societies springing up on campus and debating one another. In addition, the University's orators won debating and speech competitions with competitors among other schools in Georgia and around the country. The Mercer University Oratorical Association was organized in 1897 to compete in intercollegiate debates and won a number of debate contests around the state. In 1898, Mercer's champion orator, John Roach Straton, won the first Intercollegiate Oratorical Championships in Atlanta. Debate continued to be a significant intercollegiate sport for many years after that, with Walter F. George, namesake of Mercer's law school, leading a team to victory over the University of Georgia at the Mercer-Athens Debate in 1899. Following the World Wars, Mercer debate enjoyed resurgence, with a team in 1951 taking the Wachtel Award for legislative speaking at the National Tau Kappa Alpha Debating Tournament and Conference.