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

The Marshall Thundering Word recently took 2nd place in debate sweepstakes at the Ohio University debate tournament. The team has several upcoming tournaments this semester as well as hosting the John Marshall High School tournament. This tournament will be attended by 25 schools from 14 different states.

The team will conclude this season by attending the National Forensic Association tournament in April.

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.

Forensic Participants

Forensic Participants

Contact Us

Dr. Jana Tigchelaar, Interim Chair

244 Smith Hall
Department of Communication Studies
1 John Marshall Drive
Huntington, WV 25755

Denise Parks

Administrative Assistant
254 Smith Hall
Department of Communication Studies
1 John Marshall Drive
Huntington, WV 25755