History

1991-national-champs

A Tradition of Success

The Forensics Union at Illinois State University provides a platform for undergraduate students to compete at the intercollegiate level while helping enhance the academic reputation of the University. We are a cross-disciplinary organization with students pursuing over 20 different majors. Our organization is over 40 members strong, and each year the team holds a collective GPA of 3.0 or better.

The Forensics Union is a model for diversity as well as civic engagement. Students originate from distinct backgrounds and lifestyles, including several members who were recruited from Chicago’s Urban Debate League. As part of our commitment to community service, the team as a whole contributes more than 300 hours each year to various communities in the form of free coaching in high schools, volunteering on ISU’s campus, hosting high school speech and debate tournaments, and training young people in the 4H program.

Established just four days after the University opened, the Forensics Union is a founding member of national speech and debate organizations. It was granted charter status by the state of Illinois in 1867. Former Forensics Union members include:

  • Former ISU President, Richard Edwards.
  • Former UN Ambassador under the Carter Administration, Donald McHenry.
  • Nelsan Ellis, star of HBO’s True Blood, was a former speech competitor and Duo Interpretation Champion at NFA 1999.
  • Local TV personalities Jacob Long and Kim Behrens were former speech competitors.
  • Former President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, is also an honorary ISU Forensics Union member.

In an effort to stay connected with alumni, the Forensics Advisory Board was founded. This group maintains communication and a close connection between current students and alumni, offering the opportunity for alumni to stay involved with the Forensics Union and offer support to current members.

In 2005, after winning the National Forensics Tournament, the town of Normal declared “Forensics Day” in support and honor of the continuous hard work and dedication our students put forth.

The ISU Forensics Union hosted the 2011 National Forensics Association (NFA) Tournament. This event was the fifth time the ISU Forensics Union has hosted a National Tournament:

  • Debate hosted the National Debate Tournament (NDT) in 1987.
  • Speech hosted the American Forensics Association (AFA) Tournament in 1978 and hosted the NFA Tournament in 1983 and 2011.

Recent Accomplishments

Debate

  • ISU teams have qualified for the NDT 23 times in the Forensics Union’s history.
  • The Cross Examination Debate Association (CEDA) has selected six ISU debaters as Academic All Americans since 2005. Only 30 students across the nation are selected each year for such an honor.
  • The ISU Debate Team has debated teams from Japan, the Philippines, and Germany, as well as schools such as Harvard and Oxford.
  • In 2006 the Debate Team advanced to semi-finals at the junior varsity national championship tournament.
  • In 2009 and 2013 the ISU Debate Team reached elimination rounds of CEDA, placing them in the top 64 teams at the tournament, of the 200 teams that are invited to the tournament.
  • In 2014, the ISU Debate Team reached elimination rounds of NFA Lincoln-Douglas Debate.

Speech

  • The ISU Speech Team has had 12 Top Five finishes in the NFA tournament since 2001 (7 Top Three finishes).
  • The ISU Speech Team has had 7 Top Five finishes in the AFA tournament every year since 2001 (4 Top Three finishes; 1 championship).
  • 61 students have claimed 69 individual titles since 1976.
  • Four ISU Speech Team members have been selected as NFA All-Americans since 2005.
  • At the 2010 NFA tournament, 4 of the 6 finalists in the After Dinner Speech category were ISU Speech Team members.
  • The team has won 13 After Dinner National titles since 2002.
  • 10 former competitors have been inducted into the NFA Hall of Fame.
  • Four ISU students at the NFA Tournament won the pentathlon (entered in more than 5 events).
  • In 2006 Annie Kincade became the first and only female to win nationals at both NFA and AFA in After Dinner Speaking.
  • Coach Megan Koch won the AFA New Coach of the Year award in 2010.

Forensics Union History Project

We are busy compiling a complete history of the ISU Forensics Union, which has turned out to be quite the task with spotty records available here on campus and online. Nevertheless, we are working to create a more complete picture of the history of our program. If you know any information that might help us fill in a few gaps, please contact us. You will find parts of this history elsewhere on this website under the Debate and Speech Teams’ pages.

Forensics Union & Team Presidents

  • Mary Turilli, 1977-1978
  • Linda (Mesner) Pierce, 1979-1980
  • Celeste DeVore Matheson, 1990-1991
  • Andy Reisman
  • Robin Silbergleid, 1993-1994
  • Bob Moore, 1994-1995
  • Vicky Cunz, 1995-1996
  • Amy Johnson, 1996-1997
  • Scott Makstenieks, 1997-1998
  • Andrew Beckett & Joyce Olsen, 2000-2001
  • Megan (Houge) Koch, Bryan McCann, & Beth Clarke, 2001-2002
  • Robb Telfer, 2002-2003
  • Mia Poston & Ralph Hardesty, 2003-2004
  • Shannon Maney & Brandon Wood, 2004-2005
  • Patrick Carberry & Michelle Hill, 2005-2006
  • Kyle Schultz & Robert Kosic, 2006-2007
  • Josh McClusky & Robert Kosic, 2007-2008
  • Ryan Henneberry & Alex Berger, 2008-2009
  • Stephanie Donjon & Scott Siebert, 2009-2010
  • Joe Cozza & Scott Siebert, 2010-2011
  • Maureen Brothman & Marlon Harris, 2011-2012
  • Mike Tristano & Hillary St. John, 2012-2013
  • Jeremy Murphy, 2013-2014
  • Ayanna Guzman, 2014-2015

ISU Forensics Union Directors

Directors of Forensics

  • Dr. Ralph A. Micken (1949-1957)
  • Dr. Charles A. White (1957-1960)
  • Dr. Stanley G. Rives (1959-1963) {served as assistant in 1958-1959}
  • Dr. Ted R. Jackson (1960-1962)
  • Karen Halvorson (1962-1965) {was co-DOF in 1962-1963}
  • John Boaz (1965-1969)
  • Dr. Ted R. Jackson (1969-1974)
  • Dr. Bill Semlak (1974-1977)
  • Dr. Tom Hollihan (1977-1980)
  • Dr. Craig Cutbirth (1980-1986)
  • Karen Morris (Piercy), Assistant DOF (1989-1992)
  • Dr. Robert Chandler (1986-1998)
  • Dr. Mary Ann Moffitt (1998-1999)
  • Thomas (Zeidler) Adamson (1999-2001)
  • Dr. Stephen K. Hunt (2001)
  • Dr. Craig Cutbirth (2001-2003)
  • Dr. Joseph Zompetti (2003-2009)
  • Dr. Kevin R. Meyer (2009-2013)
  • Megan (Houge) Koch, Assistant DOF (2012-2013)
  • Megan (Houge) Koch (2014-present)

Directors of Debate

  • Charles Wasser (1974-1976)
  • Dr. Craig Dudczak (1976-1979)
  • Dr. Kevin Baaske (1979-1982)
  • Dr. Arnie Madsen (1986-1987)
  • Dan Lingel (1990-1994)
  • Dr. Robert Chandler (1994-1995), acting DOD
  • Kent Radford (1995-1996)
  • Rachel L. Santine (1996-1998)
  • Molly Munson (1999-2000)
  • Dr. Joseph Zompetti (2003-2007), acting DOD
  • Justin Stanley (2007-2009)
  • Donny Peters (2009-2012)
  • Phillip Samuels (2012-2013)
  • Glenn Prince (2013-2014)
  • Shanna Carlson (2014-present)

Assistant Debate Coaches

  • Molly Munson (1997-1998)

Directors of Individual Events

  • C.T. Hanson (1974-1976)
  • Tony Vehar (1976-1977)
  • Paul Stamm (1977-1979)
  • Dr. Susan Conover Jackson (1979?)
  • Doug Jennings (1979-1983)
  • Connie Day Cantrell (1978-1983)
  • Elighie Wilson (1983-1991)
  • Michael Kirch (1991-1996)
  • Thomas (Zeidler) Adamson (1996-2001)
  • Joel Chmara (2000-2003)
  • Jennifer Parker (2003-2005)
  • Megan (Houge) Koch (2005-present)
  • Michael Graupmann, co-DIE (2005-2006)
  • Brandon Wood, co-DIE (2006-2008)
  • Jon Carter, co-DIE (2012-2013)

Assistant Directors of Individual Events

  • Elighie Wilson (1982-1983)
  • Michael Kirch (1989-1991)
  • Thomas (Ziedler) Adamson (1993-1996)
  • Suzanne Enck-Wanzer (1996-1999)
  • Sarah Love-Williams (1999-2001)
  • Joel Chmara (2003-2004)
  • Michael Graupmann (2003-2005)
  • Jon Carter (2008-2013)
  • Ganer Newman (2013-2014)
  • Travis Kiger (2014-present)

Graduate Teaching Assistant Coaches

  • Dr. Stanley G. Rives, Forensics (1954-1955)
  • Edwin Carpenter, Forensics (1955-1956)
  • Christian Melz, Forensics (1956-1957)
  • James Backus, Forensics (1956-1957)
  • Barbara (Mowder) Larson, Forensics (1958-1960)
  • Gary Cronkhite, Forensics (1960-1961)
  • Dr. Dennis Gouran, Forensics (1963-1965) {served as sponsor/advisor in 1963-1964}
  • Robert Neulieb, Debate (1969-1970)
  • Dr. Peter Andersen, Debate (1971-1972)
  • Leo Kivijarv, IE (1974-1975)
  • Howard Burkholz, Debate (1974-1975)
  • Dave Congalton, Debate (1975-1977)
  • Dr. Susan Sciame Giesecke (1975-1977)
  • Michael Van Strien, IE (1976-1978)
  • Steve Collie, IE & Debate (1977-1979)
  • Dr. Robert Jackson (1978-1979)
  • Mark Schmidt, Debate (after 1978)
  • Susan (Kalasmiki) Collie, IE (1979-1980)
  • Elighie Wilson, IE (1980-1982)
  • Mary Turilli, IE (1980-1982)
  • Molly (Spengler) Elmore, IE (1980-1982)
  • Dr. Roseann Mandziuk, IE (1981-1983)
  • Tom McCarthy, IE (1983)
  • Pam (Wineburner) Lovell (1982-1984)
  • Dr. Richard West, IE (1983-1984)
  • Julie Goodlick, IE (1983-1985)
  • Doug Leland (1983-1985)
  • Jan Moreland, IE (1987-1988)
  • Michael Kirch, IE (1987-1989)
  • Julie Beckman, IE (1987-1989)
  • Dan Gruber, IE (1987-1988)
  • Lauren (Nivling) Morgan, IE (1988-1991)
  • Randy Schultz (1988-1990)
  • Janine Stroemer, IE (1990-1993)
  • Barry Liss, Debate (1991-1992)
  • Jeff Przybylo, IE (1990-1992)
  • Jon Neuleib, Debate (Fall 1993)
  • Celeste (DeVore) Matheson, IE (1991-1993)
  • Terry Bonnette, IE (1991-1993)
  • Bob Betts, IE (1993-1994)
  • Kurt Lindemann, IE (1993-1995)
  • Steve Backhaus, IE (1993-1995)
  • Jon Warren, Debate (1993-1995)
  • Jenny Jaycox, IE (1994-1995)
  • Dr. Joseph Zompetti, Debate (Spring 1994-1995)
  • Rachel Craft, IE
  • La’Mont Vaughn, IE (1995-1996)
  • Jeff Archibald, IE (1995-1997)
  • Dawn Lowry, IE (1995-1997)
  • Ed Reed, IE (1995-1997)
  • A.J. Barron, Debate (1995-1997)
  • Amy (Watson) O’Neal, Debate & IE (1996-1998)
  • Vicky (Cunz) Cordani, IE (1996-1998)
  • Tiffany (Post) Olson, IE (1997-1999)
  • Jennifer Czarnik, Parliamentary Debate (1997-1998)
  • Travis Russ, IE (1998)
  • Joel Chmara, IE (1998-2000)
  • Chris Grove, IE (1999-2000)
  • Cori Ellis, IE
  • Shannon O’Donnell, IE
  • Will Major, IE (1999-2002)
  • Dana Trunnell, IE (2000-2002)
  • Scott Makstenieks, IE (2000-2002)
  • Barb Ellevold, IE (2002-2004)
  • Bryan McCann, IE (2002-2004)
  • Ryan Marple, IE (2002-2004)
  • Grant Ward, IE (2003-2005)
  • Andy Luster, IE (2003-2004)
  • Dan Broyles, IE (2004-2005)
  • Danielle Dick, IE (2004-2005)
  • Michelle Kelsey, Debate (2004-2006)
  • Brandon Wood, IE (2005-2006)
  • Jon Carter, IE (2005-2007)
  • Kristyn Meyer, IE (2005-2007)
  • Cadi Kadlecek, IE (2006-2007)
  • Kyle Zrenchik, IE (2007-2008)
  • Daniel Lopez, IE (2007-2009)
  • Aaron Enskat, IE (2007-2009)
  • Annie Kincade, IE (2008-2010)
  • Nathan Stewart, Debate (2008-2010)
  • Mike Spinelli, IE (2009-2010)
  • Michael Storr, IE (2009-2011)
  • Lindsey Dixon, Debate (2010-2012)
  • Marcus Hill, IE (2010-2012)
  • Dillon White, IE (2010-2012)
  • Liz Miller, IE (2011-2013)
  • Jake Nickell, Debate (2012-2014)
  • Matt Wiebel, IE (2012-2014)
  • Chandler Johnson, IE (2012-2014)
  • Shanna Carlson, Debate (2013-2014)
  • Mike Tristano, IE (2013-present)
  • Annelise Ewing, IE (2014-present)
  • Taylor McDonald, IE (2014-present)
  • Richard Heyne, IE (2014-present)

Ad hoc Coaches

  • Celeste (DeVore) Matheson, IE (1993)
  • Rob McDade, Debate (1997-2000)
  • Scott Olson, IE (1999)
  • Jude Geiger, IE (2001-2003)
  • Robb Telfer, IE (2005)
  • David Montgomerie, IE (2005)
  • Ralph Hardesty, IE (2005)
  • Will Koch, IE (2005-present)
  • Patrick Carberry, IE (2006-2008)
  • Shannon Maney, IE (2009-2010)
  • Andrew Chamberlain, IE (2011-2012)
  • Scott Siebert, Debate (2011-2013)
  • Suzanne (Lumberg) White, IE (2011-2013)
  • Dillon White, IE (2013)
  • Annelise Ewing, IE (2013-2014)
  • Taylor McDonald, IE (2013-2014)
  • Bill Heinze, IE (2013-present)
  • Samar Dababneh, IE (2013-present)
  • Gabriella Devia-Allen, IE (2014-present)
  • Junior Ocasio, IE (2014-present)

Others?

  • Chiqueeta (Verban) Jameson (after 1978)

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