Student News

UK Debate Team sees success at Georgetown University Tournament

David Griffith (right) and Austin Kiihnl received top 15 speaker awards.
David Griffith and Austin Kiihnl received top 15 speaker awards.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Jan. 19, 2023) — In early January, the University of Kentucky Intercollegiate Debate Team attended a tournament at Georgetown University, competing alongside nearly 200 students from more than 30 universities.

The partnership of David Griffith and Austin Kiihnl defeated teams from Wake Forest University, Georgetown University, University of Minnesota and Emory University to reach the round of 16 before falling to the University of Michigan. Both Griffith and Kiihnl received top 15 speaker awards.

Partners Jordan Di and Ariel Gabay reached the round of 32, meaning that Kentucky has had at least two partnerships reach the elimination rounds at every tournament this season.

“I’m not surprised at all with our students’ success because of the effort they have been putting forth all season,” UK Debate Team Head Coach Devane Murphy said. “We’ve been talking a lot as a team about periods of development and taking the season one tournament at a time. I truly believe that we’ve only begun to see the tip of the iceberg of what we can accomplish.”

Later this month, Kentucky will travel to Indiana University to compete before focusing on the post-season.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $501 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.