They have a strong track record for winning, competed at the global level in Greece and in recent years traveled 7,236 miles to China six times for service work.
There’s no debating it—Regis’s Debate Team is phenomenal.
The Debate Team, comprising 12 undergrads, has reason to celebrate their successes in both wins, and in community involvement.
Robert Margesson, director of debate and associate professor of communication, has seen many students blossom during his six years as coach.
“My proudest moments involve taking students who are unsure of their ability… watching those students grow and succeed,” Margesson said.
Noah Symmes-Deszo, is one such student. Encouraged by his sister to try out, he entered the debate team doors on his second day at Regis.
“I couldn’t believe the amount of knowledge I was hearing. I said to myself, I can’t do this,” Symmes-Deszo said.
The welcoming atmosphere and comradery influenced his decision to return, and he began judging competitions, and eventually felt comfortable competing by the end of his freshman year. The sophomore psychology major spends the week before a competition doing “cram research”— studying current events, politics, and news to prepare. The public speaking skills he has gained have also benefited him in the classroom. “I now participate in discussions I wouldn’t have before,” he said.
The team of top debaters extends its skills to help train other debate students, both at home in Denver and overseas. Over the last six years, the team has helped train socioeconomically disadvantaged high school students and their coaches in the Denver school system by way of the nonprofit Denver Urban Debate League.
Margesson has flown members of the team to the Sichuan province of China six times to compete, in a successful effort to introduce intercollegiate debate to the country. The project, funded by a three-year grant, brought seven U.S. universities’ debate teams to various universities in China, where each U.S. student joined a Chinese student in pairs –aptly named “friendship teams”– to compete. More than 300 Chinese universities participated in the now completed program, which paved the way for the intercollegiate debate league, the China Open.
Taylor Davis, senior, describes his experience in China as “ten of the best days of my life.”
The senior business management and philosophy major suggests any Regis student become involved with debate. “It can be intimidating, but if you stick with it, it can be one of the best decisions you can make,” he said.
Learn more about the Regis Debate Team.