McKendree does well at speech and debate meets

News-DemocratFebruary 5, 2014 

The McKendree University speech and debate team began its spring semester of competition with strong performances at the University of Utah's Mile High Swing and Webster University's Gorlok Gala. The team reached the quarterfinals in debate at Mile High and advanced to the finals in six events at the Gorlok.

"It was a great start to the spring," Joe Blasdel, speech and debate coach at McKendree, said. "I think it gives a lot of momentum heading into the final stretch of the regular season and nationals."

McKendree competed against 30 other colleges and universities, including the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Oregon, the University of California at Los Angeles, and Rice University at the Mile High Swing on Jan. 18-20. Seniors Brent Nicholson and Brad Thomas, currently the 13th ranked team in the nation, ousted regional rival William Jewell in octofinals (round of 16.) Nicholson and Thomas finished as quarterfinalists after losing to Lewis and Clark College.

McKendree sent eight students to Webster University's Gorlok Gala on Jan. 24-26: Juniors Rebecca Blake, Josh Fleming, and Spencer Marcum; sophomores Tyler Jewell, Cassie Kuberski, and Rodney McBride; and freshmen Mary Makarishcheva and Katie Reining.

Fleming advanced to finals in four events - duo improvisation and duo interpretation (both with Blake), programmed oral interpretation, and duo improvisation with Jewell. He took third place in programmed oral interpretation, qualifying him for the American Forensic Association's National Individual Events Tournament in April. Fleming and Blake took second in duo interpretation and third in duo improvisation. Fleming and Jewell placed fifth in duo improvisation.

Marcum took first place in programmed oral interpretation, his third win of the year and second consecutive win at the Gorlok. He was sixth in informative speaking. McKendree also received four excellent awards - Marcum in poetry, prose, and drama; and Fleming in impromptu.

Actor and author Hill Harper will deliver a self-empowerment message Feb. 19 at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Harper, who portrays Dr. Sheldon Hawkes in the hit CBS drama series CSI: NY, will speak at 7 p.m. in the Morris University Center Meridian Ballroom. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Harper, who also stars in the television series Covert Affairs, will promote his most recent book, Letters to an Incarcerated Brother: Encouragement, Hope, and Healing for Inmates and Their Loved Ones.

Harper, an Ivy League graduate of Brown University and Harvard Law School, has written several books. Some of his other titles include: Breaking Barriers: Being an Active Architect of Your Own Life, Letters to a Young Brother: Manifest Your Destiny, Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny, The Wealth Cure: Putting Money in its Place.

Harper's visit to the SIUE campus is sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, the Iota Pi chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and the SIUE Black Student Union.

For more information, contact Asiedu at

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