Thursday, Feb. 18, 2010
Members of Utah State University’s Speech and Debate Team were honored Feb. 16 at the state capitol during sessions in both the Senate and House of Representatives. The activity was part of the legislature’s effort to acknowledge top programs and accomplishments, including first place rankings in the state.
Organized by Senate President Michael Waddoups’s office, the USU group was introduced on the floor of the Senate by Sen. Lyle Hillyard and presented a formal citation. Following that honor, the group moved to the House of Representatives gallery and was acknowledged from the floor by Rep. Fred Hunsaker.
The entire team was on hand to be honored at the State Capitol.
The 2010 USU squad includes Timothy (Tim) Worthen, Stephanie Lewis, Katelyn Wallace, Bryce Draper, Justin Hinh, Peter Daines, Justin Jerez, Andrea (Andy) Bouwman, Jeff Denison and Dan Quarnberg. A number of individuals support the team’s efforts this season, including coach Worthen and judges Jane McBride, James Boyd, Clayton Coleman, Mike Smith, Eric Peatross and Diane (Di) Lewis.
This small group competes against approximately 32 schools and programs from the states of Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Montana. USU is the only school from the state of Utah in the Northwest Forensic Conference.
Joining the coach, judges and team members at the capitol for the recognition was Yolanda Flores Niemann, dean of the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences.
Following the final meet of the 2009-10 season, the team not only captured the meet title but returned to USU as the Northwest Forensic Conference champions, bringing home the “Golden Eagle” trophy. This is the sixth year in a row that USU’s team has taken the conference title. The conference championship is awarded to the school that has accumulated the most points after attending the three conference tournaments.
In individual honors at the final compeititon, USU student Dan Quarnberg was named the top debater at the meet, as well as the top speaker for the conference.
Brent Northup of Carroll College in Montana and president of the Northwest Forensic Conference said Utah State University’s Speech and Debate Team is a “Gold Medal” program, the conference’s highest program honor.
“Utah State is a small miracle of a program,” he said. “With limited funding and only a dozen or so students, they rise to the top wherever and whenever they compete, no matter how big the goliath programs they meet. Tom Worthen is a coach who polishes his students and instills in them good sportsmanship and integrity. They drive many hundred miles to compete in our Northwest region, and always perform beautifully …. Year after year after year.”
The Speech and Debate Team is based in USU’s Department of Languages, Philosophy and Speech Communication and the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. The team was honored for its current season as well as past success as six-time conference champs.
Also scheduled for honors at the legislature Feb. 16 were individuals representing USU’s space program from the colleges of Engineering and Science. Due to a scheduling conflict that recognition will be take place at a later date. The Senate will honor USU’s record of sending more student experiments into space than any university in the world. Three faculty representatives will represent the university as it accepts the honor: Charles Swenson, professor of electrical and computer engineering and director of the Center for Space Engineering; Doran Baker, professor of electrical and computer engineering; and Jan Sojka, Physics Department head and assistant director of USU’s Center for Atmospheric and Space Sciences.
Among the year’s noteable accomplishments, for the second year in a row, Utah State University’s rocket team won the grand prize at NASA’s 2008-09 University Student Launch Initiative.
The university also houses the Rocky Mountain NASA Space Grant Consortium, the Center for Atmospheric and Space Sciences and the Center for Space Engineering.
Contacts for the USU Speech and Debate Team:
Dean Yolanda Flores Niemann, 435-797-1195, firstname.lastname@example.org