Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner honors TSU Debate Team
HOUSTON – The world-renowned Debate Team at Texas Southern University received a proclamation from Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Councilman Dwight Boykins in honor of their win at the inaugural HBCU National Speech and Debate Championship Tournament in January. Mayor Turner declared June 19 as Texas Southern University Debate Team Day in Council chambers at City Hall.
The Debate Team was awarded the tournament’s championship trophy on January 28 at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas. The three-day tournament that began on January 25 featured teams from 22 historically Black colleges and universities from across the country. TSU’s debaters earned 20 trophies in multiple categories, including the individual events sweepstakes championship, and overall sweepstakes and debate sweepstakes championships. Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Wiley College at the closing ceremony for his work in the film, The Great Debaters, which shined a spotlight on the accomplishments of debate teams at HBCUs.
TSU’s Debate Team’s rich history dates back to 1949, under the leadership of Dr. Thomas F. Freeman, professor emeritus. Dr. Freeman, 98, is in his 68th year at Texas Southern and continues to work with the team. TSU debaters have garnered several international titles during its existence, including the International Forensics Association Speech and Debate Tournament championship in March in Montreal, Canada.
Dr. Gloria Batiste-Roberts is the current head coach of TSU’s Debate Team. Assistant coaches Wendell King II and Sondera Malry, along with graduate assistants Shekia Rogers and Okwildilli Onyekawelu, supported the team to victory. Antréchelle Dorsey is the Debate Team president.
Mayor Sylvester Turner (far right) and Councilman Dwight Boykins (far left) award a proclamation on June 19 to Dr. Thomas F. Freeman (seated, center) and the TSU Debate Team for its championship win at the HBCU National Speech and Debate Tournament.
ABOUT TEXAS SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY
Texas Southern University (TSU) honors our designation as a special-purpose institution for urban programming and research. TSU is a comprehensive university providing higher education access to the nation’s underserved communities. TSU’s academic and research programs address critical urban issues, and prepares its diverse student population to become a force for positive change in a global society. TSU offers more than 100 undergraduate and graduate programs and concentrations – bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees – organized into 10 colleges and schools on a 150-acre campus nestled in the heart of Houston’s historic Third Ward. The University’s enrollment has a population of more than 10,000 undergraduate and graduate-school academic candidates. Texas Southern has been a distinguished educational pioneer since 1927, and the University has become one of the most diverse and respected institutions in Texas. TSU has positioned itself as a proactive leader in educating underserved students and many who are the first in their family to attend college.