The Thundering Word, Marshall University’s speech and debate team, are students  interested in enhancing their public speaking through competition.  We are members of the National Forensic Association and observe their rules. Team members compete in four basic areas:

  1. Oral interpretation of literature: prose, poetry, drama, duo and programmed oral interpretation
  2. Prepared speeches (informative, persuasive, after dinner, rhetorical criticism)
  3. Limited preparation speeches (impromptu, extemporaneous)
  4. Lincoln-Douglas debate

Each semester team members travel to other colleges and universities to compete in speech and debate tournaments.  On average students travel about four times a semester.  In the fall we host the Chief Justice Invitational Tournament here, at Marshall; in the spring we host the John Marshall Tournament.

Tournament Information:

We will be hosting the 8th Annual Chief Justice Invitational Tournament the weekend of Saturday, October 29 and Sunday, October 30.

2016 Chief Justice Invitation

Register for Chief Justice Invitational Tournament

For information about the MU Speech and Debate Team, contact Clara Adkins, the Director of Forensics, at 304-654-0587 or  The team practices every Wednesday 6:30-9:00 pm in SH 269, and there are individual coaching sessions by appointment.