More great news for Speech and Debate Team

March 29, 2016 / by / 0 Comment

Speech and Debate Team Director Barry Regan, center, with team members Thomas Rotering, left, and Zach Kuykendall, two of the GCU's top parliamentary debaters.

Speech and Debate Team Director Barry Regan, center, with team members Thomas Rotering, left, and Zach Kuykendall, two of the GCU’s top parliamentary debaters.

Story and photos by Laurie Merrill
GCU News Bureau

The news keeps getting better for Grand Canyon University’s Speech and Debate Team, which recently received word of an unexpected accomplishment.

The three-year-old team finished 20th out of 161 teams in this year’s International Public Debate Association (IPDA) rankings, a major coup because the team primarily competes in parliamentary debate.

“I am very pleasantly surprised as our team only attended four tournaments in this type of debate,” said team director Barry Regan, a College of Humanities and Social Sciences instructor.

Regan said that IPDA is a simpler, slower debate style than the parliamentary style that GCU primarily practices.

An example of one IPDA topic is “Dumbledore versus Gandalf,” Regan said, referring to the Hogwarts headmaster in the fictional Harry Potter series and the powerful good wizard in the fictional Lord of the Rings.

In parliamentary debate, competitors take turns speaking about 300 words a minute about a topic that is revealed 20 minutes before the contest, Regan said.

A Speech and Debate team member and fabulous senior.

Ashlyn Tupper, the only senior on the three-year-old team.

“There are many (speech and debate) categories,” said CHSS Dean Dr. Sherman Elliott. “When GCU wins at basketball, it’s very simple to explain. It’s never going to be that way with speech and debate.”

Among many accomplishments this year, the team:

  • Finished No. 25 in the nation out of 199 schools that competed in parliamentary debate.
  • Scored a three-peat when, for the third straight year, it was named Division III champion in the 2016 Christian College Forensic Invitational in Salt Lake City.
  • Was honored when six members were named to the Pacific Southwest Collegiate Forensics Association 2016 Academic All-Conference Team.

But perhaps the most exciting development was that GCU was unanimously selected to host the 2017 National Christian College Forensics Invitational, one of the most prestigious speech and debate events of the year.

The March 26-27, 2017, invitational will bring as many as 400 visitors the University, most of whom will stay at Grand Canyon University Hotel, Regan said.

Said Elliott, “It’s an honor, and it should be credited to the hard work and leadership of Barry and how he has represented us so well to the outside speech and debate community.”

Contact Laurie Merrill at 602-639-6511 or

About the Author
Leave a Comment