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LSUA Student Finishes No. 1 in National Debate Ranking

Released: 05/19/2009

David Tubbs is a two-tour U.S. Army combat veteran in the Iraq War. He’s also a national champion in the war of words.

The LSU at Alexandria junior recently completed a No. 1 ranking in the Novice Division of the International Public Debate Association (IPDA). Tubbs earned the Susan B. Anthony Award for accumulating the highest point total over the debate season, capturing two first- and two second-place finishes in seven tournaments this year. National rankings are figured on a point system that counts a debater’s top six finishes.

Dr. Kevin Ells, LSUA debate coach and associate professor of communications, said “maturity, the ability to think on his feet and effective public speaking skills” make Tubbs a formidable first-year debater. “He’s also an inquisitive, voracious reader who is knowledgeable about a variety of topics,” Ells said.

Debaters in IPDA events are matched in head-to-head elimination competition. They cull a list of five topics to one and are allowed 30 minutes of debate preparation. It’s a more confrontational format than traditional debate, and Tubbs said it fits his personality. In fact, it was LSUA classmates who noted Tubbs’ liking for discussion of topical issues and encouraged him to join the debate team. Tubbs’ two first-place finishes this season are the first individual titles in the history of the young LSUA debate team.

Ells said he is confident Tubbs will perform well next year in Varsity Division competition. “He will face better debaters, but I know he’s capable of excellent results,” Ells said.

Tubbs, 25, spent five years in the military (1st Armored Division) after graduating from Port Allen High School as a self-described “underachiever.” Today the junior history major is contemplating a career in law or education, and he carries a perfect 4.0 grade point average.