News and Events

UF Hosts National Speech Championship

March 6, 2006

GAINESVILLE—More than 1,000 of America’s premier speakers from the collegiate level will be showcasing their talents when the University of Florida Speech and Debate Teams hosts the 29th annual American Forensics Association-National Individual Events Tournament on April 1-3 at the Reitz Union.

Speakers from more than 100 colleges and universities around the nation will compete as individuals and teams for the AFA National Championship in 11 different events from three categories featuring public address and dramatic performance skills.

This is the university’s second opportunity to host this national tournament; UF last hosted it in 1996.

Kellie Roberts, director of forensics at UF, said she expects one of the most competitive national tournaments in years.

“The people who are coming are the cream of the crop,” Roberts said. “Many of these students have already won major awards, so it should be very exciting to watch them square off against each other.”

Preliminary rounds for all 11 events will take place over the first two days of the tournament, followed by a banquet on the evening of April 2, where semifinalists will be announced. The national championship will be decided in each of the remaining events April 3.

Roberts said the tournament is free and open to the public and is sure to be fun for anyone to watch.

“The people who compete in college forensics go on to do amazing things,” she said. “These are the leaders of tomorrow, so there’s a lot of talent and entertainment value found in these events.”

Roberts said many celebrities competed in forensics as students, such as Oprah Winfrey, Nancy Cartwright and Matt Damon. Former U.S. Senators Bob Graham and George Smathers are among UF’s elite forensics alumni, she said.

Ultimately, Roberts believes the attention gained from the tournament will sharply enhance UF’s academic image.

“Because UF is best known for its athletics and research, it never hurts to show off what we’re achieving academically,” Roberts said.

For more information about the tournament, contact Kellie Roberts at (352) 392-5421.


Kellie Roberts
Center for Written and Oral Communication
(352) 392-5421

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