Towson University and the state of Maryland recognized the 50th anniversary of the TU Forensics program on Saturday, where Governor Martin O’Malley proclaimed May 4, 2013 as “Towson University Forensics Day.”
The Department of Mass Communication and Communication Studies welcomed Forensics alumni, former coaches, friends and family to celebrate with a reunion at the University Union and raised funds to benefit the Challenge for Debate initiative to support the program. The contributions help pay for students and coaches to travel and compete in national tournaments.
The celebration, which has been in the works for several years, was chaired by Steve Mister ’85, with support from Cynthia Cooper, chair of the department, and Jennifer Potter, the director of the Forensics program.
For some in attendance, “Forensics Turns 50” was an opportunity to catch up with coaches and teammates for the first time in decades.
“It was a wonderful homecoming. I hadn’t seen some of those students since the 70s,” said Brenda Logue, a former TU faculty member and Forensics coach for 24 years. “You could see just how much some of them appreciated the program. For everyone there, you knew the time they spent on the team was a special time in their lives.”
Mike Rowe ’85, the host and voice of numerous programs on the Discovery Channel including Dirty Jobs, competed in individual speaking events through the Forensics program. Unable to attend Saturday’s event, he recorded a video message that was shown to the audience.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I got out of high school. I went to a community college and still didn’t know what I wanted to do and somehow or another wandered into Brenda Logue’s speech class,” Rowe said in his recorded message.
“I remember leaving Towson feeling like there was a whole bunch of things that might be possible for me that weren’t possible before I got there,” Rowe continued.
Steve Verch ’78 has used the experience speaking, researching, debating and critically thinking he gained through the Forensics program as an attorney and runs for elected office. After graduating, he returned to assist Logue in coaching new members of the team.
“Forensics makes for lasting relationships and I still cherish many relationships today that began with my time in the program,” said Verch, who even met his wife, Barbara Blake ’79, on the team.
The Towson University Speech and Debate Team has garnered national attention in recent years. Competing nationally, pairs of debaters have challenged and defeated top programs in the country, including some from Ivy League institutions. This spring, Towson debaters finished in the top 16 in two elite national competitions, the Cross-Examination Debate Association National Tournament and the National Debate Tournament.