On Saturday, May 7, 2016, twenty students competed in the fifth annual John Lyne Public Speaking Contest. Instructors in COMM 145 select competitors to represent the class in the competition based upon their presentation of the persuasive speech assignment. The competition is divided into two divisions, one from sections with a business and professional emphasis and the other from general sections. The top three students in each division, their instructors, and their topics are as follows:
COMM 145 ‘Business’ Division
- Ben Carroll (Bruce Crawley), business proposal for “The Guitar Shop”
- Brent Beard (Gayle Allison), “Military Suicide Prevention”
- Jackson Bennett (Jessica McClanahan), sales pitch for “Tesla Model 3”
Regular COMM 145 Division
- Victoria Taylor (Donna Schiess), “From My Hear to Yours: Donate Blood”
- Colby Clark (Tyler Rife), “Funding for the Arts”
- Paul “Francis” Wilson (Donna Schiess), “A ‘Year On’”
The top three contestants win cash awards of $200, $100 and $50. The two preliminary rounds are judged by W.K.U. Department of Forensics coaches, including this year Ganer Newman (Director of Forensics), Scott Branton, Jessica Furgerson, Chad Meadows, Benjamin Pyle, and Ben Robin. The top three contestants based upon rankings and ratings are judged in the final round by WKU. “Celebrity” judges. This year, those included Dr. John Lyne (Professor at the University of Pittsburgh and benefactor of the contest), Dr. Barbara Burch (Provost Emeritus and Faculty Regent at WKU), Dr. Lawrence Synder (Dean of Potter College of Arts and Letters), Dr. Helen Sterk (Head of the Department of Communication), and Dr. Blair Thompson (Associate Professor and former Basic Course Director, Department of Communication). Dr. Gary K. Hughes (Instructor and Basic Course Director, Department of Communication, W.K.U.) coordinated and ran this year’s competition.
The Department of Communication expresses its appreciation to all the instructors, judges, staff, and students who made the competition possible, but a special thank you goes to Dr. John Lyne as benefactor. Dr. Lyne graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from WKU in 1971 with a double major in Speech and Philosophy. As a student, he was a debater on the forensics team, President of the Student Government Association, and a writer for the campus newspaper, the College Heights Herald. Since his days at WKU, he earned an M.A. at the University of Texas-Austin, a Ph.D. at the University of Wisconsin, taught and served as the department chair at the University of Iowa, and teaches and serves as department chair and department director of graduate students at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Lyne also serves on the faculty of the Center for Bioethics and Health Law of the University of Pittsburgh.