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Speech and Debate

Welcome to the official website for the OCU Speech and Debate team. Our program has a rich tradition that goes all the way back to our historic 1931 debate with Wiley College. As featured in the film “The Great Debaters,” the OCU Speech and Debate team was the first all-white team ever to debate an all-black team south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Today OCU Speech and Debate continues its vision of inclusivity by encouraging students from all disciplines and backgrounds to join our team. We compete in a broad range of areas, including Parliamentary Debate, Limited Prep Speaking, and Individual Events. If you are interested in continuing your career, OCU is a great place to do it!

We believe that Speech and Debate is one of the best activities that a student can do. It engages you in active research and learning. You will thus come away from our program prepared to meet the next level of expectations in graduate school and/or your professional career. The university also offers generous scholarship support for students who participate in Speech and Debate.

If we are competing somewhere near you, let us know and meet up with us at a tournament.

About the Program

OCU Speech and Debate offers a dynamic format that allows students to pursue their own interests and to compete in a broad range of areas, including:

  • Parliamentary Debate
  • Platform Speech Public Speaking
  • Limited Prep Speaking
  • Individual Events

The program is open to students from any discipline, and time commitment levels are flexible to meet student needs. We always put academics first and hope to locate natural synergies that promote the success of our students as well as our team.

It is the quality of an OCU education that sets our team apart from the rest. The team emphasizes active research and teaches students to apply research methods across the performance speech debate spectrum.

Students will come away from our program better equipped than the average student, with a stronger understanding of next-level professional and/or graduate expectations.

Student Testimonial

Participating in debate has been a transformative experience for me. I walked onto the OCU Speech and Debate Team as a freshman with no prior experience. Since that time, the relationships and skills I have developed have been instrumental to my success academically and in laying a foundation for my future career.

When I came to college, I lacked basic public speaking skills as well as the ability to articulate my thoughts spontaneously. That skill set did not come quickly or easily, but it has served me well in many situations. I am now comfortable participating openly in my classes, and that same confidence has translated into internship opportunities on a gubernatorial election campaign and in the office of a U.S. Senator.

More important, however, are the people I have come to know through this activity. My debate coaches and partners have been tremendous mentors and role models, teaching me to be not only a better debater but also a better person. I look forward to maintaining those relationships as I continue my academic career, and I know that they will serve me well in the future just as they have up to this point.

Chance Johnson, 2015 Team

Director of Forensics

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Garret Castleberry Director of Forensics

Ph.D., The University of Oklahoma M.A., The University of North Texas B.A., Southwestern Oklahoma State University  

Email: glcastleberry@okcu.edu Twitter: @CastleberryG okcu.academia.edu/GarretCastleberry

A native of Oklahoma and avid media consumer, Garret Castleberry pursues a variety of mixed-methods approaches and scholarly perspectives in an active research agenda in contemporary media criticism.

Recent Work:

  • Cultural Studies<=>Critical Methodologies
  • In Media Res
  • The ESPN Effect (New York: Peter Lang)
  • International Review of Qualitative Research.

Upcoming book chapters and edited anthologies:

  • Communication Theories for Millennials (New York: Peter Lang)
  • Television, Social Media, and Fan Culture (New York: Roman & Littlefield/Lexington Books).

Garret will be a feature contributor for the University of Texas online media journal Flow for Volume 22 beginning Fall 2015.

Garret began his involvement with speech and debate in high school, including State Champion in Humorous Interpretation of Literature. While attending SWOSU, he served as forensics chapter president and attended multiple National tournaments in a variety of events, including 2nd Place in Reader’s Theatre in consecutive years. Garret has coached a PKD National Champion at the University of Oklahoma, numerous national semi-finalists and quarterfinalists in speech and parliamentary debate and continues to mentor students in forensics, public communication, and preparation for higher education.

Student Bios

Luke Wittmann, Junior

Luke is a junior majoring in film production. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Luke graduated from Harding Fine Arts Academy high school where he currently serves as the assistant coach for speech and debate. Luck loves history, movies, and teaching. He plans to graduate and attend the American Film Institute within a few years and eventually work as a cinematographer for motion pictures. Email: ljwittmann@my.okcu.edu

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Chance Johnson, Senior

Chance is a senior political science major with a focus in pre-law studies. In addition to debating, he is the President of the Student Government Association and Vice President of Delta Alpha Chi, the men’s Christian service fraternity. Upon finishing school, he plans to begin a career in politics, and he hopes that the rhetorical skills gained in debate will help him reach that goal. Email: kcjohnson@my.okcu.edu

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Taylor Brown, Senior

Taylor Brown. I am a senior History major with a political science minor. This is my third year doing debate. Choosing to join the team was one of the best decisions I ever made. It developed me academically and personally and has grown into the activity that I love most. I plan on going on to law school next and I believe that debate has taught me how to think in such a way as to be successful in my post graduate experience. Plus, the members of the team make it a blast! Some of my favorite memories of my college career are from debate trips and practices. Come hang out with us! It's the bomb.com! Email: taylornbrown12@gmail.com

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Ashley Vincent, Freshmen

Ashten Vincent is a freshman Oxford Plan/Political Science Major. She is a member of the debate team because it prepares young students for the challenges and tribulations faced in law school. Ashten plans to attend law school after gaining her undergraduate degree and work in national and international politics, probably also donating legal works to nonprofit organizations. Email: amvincent@my.okcu.edu Instagram: ashten_vincent

Blake Lemmons, Freshman

Blake is a freshman at OCU majoring in Political Science with the hopes of going to law school.  Blake became involved in the OCU Forensic Team because he found a passion for forensics in high school, and the crossover in skill will help him later in life. Email: blake@lemmons.net

Randy Gipson-Black, Freshman

Randy Gipson-Black is from Erick, Oklahoma and a double major in Religion/Philosophy and Political Science. He plans on one day attending law school and becoming a successful lawyer. He is a first-time debater who hopes to use the skills he will learn in debate to prepare for the court room. Email: gipsonblack.randy2@gmail.com

Contact Us

Garret Castleberry Director of Forensics

Email: glcastleberry@okcu.edu

Twitter: @CastleberryG

okcu.academia.edu/GarretCastleberry