wiley college logo*(Los Angeles, California) – Seventy-eight years ago, Wiley College and the University of Southern California/USC squared off at  Bovard Hall in Los Angeles, California, for an exhibition debate.

Wiley College, one of the oldest historically black colleges west of the Mississippi River, defeated USC, and the small school’s victory served as a profound example that skin color is not a determinant of intelligence or abilities.

In 2012, USC traveled to Wiley for an exhibition match with the great debaters in the Julius S. Scott Sr. Chapel, named in honor of Wiley’s ninth president. At the end of the evening, both teams were declared the victors and they committed to another match, this time at USC.

Today, Wiley and USC debate teams will renew their historic meeting at 5 p.m. in the Salvatori Center,  941 Bloom Way, Room 101 on the USC campus.  This is a media friendly event.  However, the event is closed to the public but can be viewed online at http://new.livestream.com/accounts/5806670/GreatDebate.

“After nearly 80 years, Wiley College has revived its forensics program and has come back with a passion to excel in all that they do as a team,” said Executive Vice President and provost of Wiley College Dr. Glenda F. Carter.  “In a short period of time, the team has reclaimed its prominent status in the national debate arena.”

Now ranked fourth in the nation, Wiley’s debate team completed its 2012-2013 season of competition having amassed 82 national awards, 368 season-long awards, and 16 championship trophies, and the first team title by a historically black college.   The debate team is affiliated with Pi Kappa Delta, the National Forensics Association, and the American Forensics Association.

The Wiley Team is led by Director of Forensics Christopher Medina, a native of Los Angeles, who came to Wiley with nearly 25 years of forensics experience. During his former position as the Director of Forensics at the University of La Verne in California, ULV won its first world debate finalists and its first world championship in supplementary events.  Wiley’s L.A. debate team members are:

Returning Competitors
·         Austin Ashford – Hometown: Union Springs, California.
·         Drake Pough – Hometown: Union Springs, California.
·         Dominick Taylor – Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri.

First-Year Competitors
·         Robert Hollar – Hometown: Los Angeles, California.
·         Nathan Leal – Hometown: Union Springs, California.
·         Lyle Kleinman – Hometown: Bakersfield, California
·         Rachel Garnett – Hometown: Orange County, California.
·         Cameron Smith – Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri.

As a point of reference, the 2007 award-winning movie, “The Great Debaters,” told the story of Wiley’s defeat of USC, the then reigning national forensics champion, under the direction of Professor Melvin B.Tolson.  In the movie, however, the Wiley team defeats Harvard University. Denzel Washington, who played as Tolson also directed the movie, donated $1 million to Wiley to revive the debate team.

For more information about the Wiley and USC October 25 event and the Los Angeles Team, please contact Ms. Tammy Taylor, Director of Public Relations at Wiley College at  (469) 826-2383.

About Wiley College
Founded in 1873, Wiley College is a four-year privately-supported, historically black college affiliated with The United Methodist Church and the United Negro College Fund.  The campus is located at 711 Wiley Avenue in Marshall, Texas 75670. (903) 927-3300.


Marie Y. Lemelle, MBA
Platinum Star Public Relations and Management
[email protected]