Annual Persuasive Speaking Competition Spotlights Public Speaking

Twenty-one students enrolled in Introduction to Speech Communication delivered original persuasive speeches at the annual Smith-Merritt Speaking Competition.

Each year, the persuasive speaking contest provides a platform for students to deliver speeches on provocative topics to students, friends and faculty. The top six from the preliminary round performed their speeches in Lumpkin Auditorium to an attentive crowd.

The overall winner of the competition was freshman communication major Edwyn Mitchell from Flossmoor, IL. His speech argued against Internet restrictions and demonstrated how they present a danger to democracy.

The second place speech was by freshman psychology and pre-med major Samantha Boomgarden from Bloomington, IL. Her speech contended that direct-to-consumer prescription drug ads should be banned in the U.S. The third place speech was by Lauren Eberle, a sophomore sociology major from Crystal Lake, IL. Her speech topic asserted that transgender individuals should not face bathroom discrimination.


The top three speakers from the 2015 Smith-Merritt Speaking Competition (left to right): Edwyn Mitchell, Lauren Eberle and Samantha Boomgarden.

The three top speakers received prizes of $500, $300 and $100 respectively. All finalists, which also included Kelsie Walden, Nate Speedy and Nia Butler, received certificates of recognition. Communication studies faculty members provided the judging for the competition.

The Smith-Merritt Speaking Contest is held in honor of Calvin Smith and Floyd Merritt, two former communication studies faculty members. Entry is open to all students currently enrolled in CMN 1310 or CMN 1390.



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