Gorlok Gala Debate Tournament Sees Largest Turnout in 17-Year History

| January 29, 2015
The Webster University Forensic and Debate program hosted the 17th annual Gorlok Gala, one of the largest and most prestigious debate tournaments in the country.

The Webster University Forensic and Debate program hosted the 17th annual Gorlok Gala, one of the largest and most prestigious debate tournaments in the country, Jan. 23-25.

The Webster University Forensic and Debate program held the annual Gorlok Gala Forensics Tournament, an annual comprehensive tournament offering multiple forms of debate, performance and speaking events over the weekend of Jan. 23. Friday and Saturday were full days of competition on the Webster campus before Sunday’s award ceremony at the Sheraton Westport Plaza hotel. This year marked the largest turnout in the tournament’s 17-year history, with a total of 49 schools from 22 states competing.

“This year’s tournament had an unprecedented national flavor,” said Scott Jensen, professor of Speech Communication Studies and director of Forensics in Webster’s School of Communications. “I have no doubt several of the students competing on our campus will be national champions at the year’s end. The fact these programs choose the Gorlok for an early spring tournament speaks volumes to the tradition that has been built by our staff and alumni who worked hard when they were here, and continue to return and work hard to create an event that is a significant part of the collegiate forensic community.”

Sixteen alumni returned to help judge, coach and administer the tournament and all of its activities. “This is a testament to the impact our program has on its members,” said Jensen. “Ours is one of the strongest alumni bases in the country.”

Jensen notes that directing a tournament of this magnitude is not possible without being surrounded by talented and dedicated people. Gina Jensen, assistant director of Forensics, and Tom Serfass, assistant coach, “were and are always paramount in the planning and execution of everything this program does.”

The Gorlok Gala held full days of competition on the Webster campus Friday and Saturday.

The Gorlok Gala held full days of competition on the Webster campus Friday and Saturday.

    The awards ceremony was held Sunday, Jan. 25 at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel.

The awards ceremony was held Sunday, Jan. 25 at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel.

Competing students presented a wide variety of speech and debate formats, including parliamentary debate, Lincoln-Douglas style debate, persuasive speeches, improv, oral interpretation and after dinner speaking. The Gorlok Gala tournament, which has become one of the largest and most prestigious in the country, concluded with:

  • Nearly 16,000 speeches
  • 619 debates
  • 12,450 non-debate speeches and performances
  • 35,665 minutes of speaking, performing and debate time

Webster’s Forensic program makes outreach a critical part of its program. The Gorlok Gala is the highlight for the team’s service agenda. Other events include a small college novice debate tournament every December, two high school tournaments in February, and a trivia night in March. “Much of the teaching and growth our program provides in grounded in planning and hosting events for the community,” said Jensen.

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Category: Campus Snapshots, Student Affairs and News, Webster News

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