Gibson Public Speaking TournamentThe Gibson Public Speaking Tournament

The Gibson Public Speaking Tournament has been an annual event held each fall since 2004. Beginning this semester the tournament will be held each spring and fall. The Gibson Public Speaking Tournament showcases the top students in our Public Speaking courses. Competitors present their persuasive speech, typically the most difficult speech of the semester. Speakers are evaluated on overall content and quality of persuasiveness, use of credible sources, well-reasoned and logically consistent arguments, and general delivery.

FALL 2023 Gibson Public Speaking Tournament

The fall 2023 tournament will be held the last week of November.

The first 2 rounds will be held in various classrooms in Pafford, and the final round will be held in Bonner Lecture Hall.

How It Works

There are two preliminary rounds judged by faculty from the School of Communication, Film, and Media. The top students in these rounds will then compete for the championship in the Final Round before a blue-ribbon panel of judges composed of university and community leaders.

Both preliminary and final rounds are open to the campus community, so feel free to come by and see our excellent students!


The Gibson Public Speaking Tournament is named after of Dr. Chester Gibson, who served in the Department of Mass Communications for about three decades, first as professor and then as chair of the department. Before arriving at the University of West Georgia, he coached debate at the University of Georgia, where former Georgia governor Roy Barnes was one of his top debaters. Under Dr. Gibson’s leadership, the UWG debate team qualified for the National Debate Tournament for 27 consecutive years and consistently ranked among the top teams in the nation. In 1995, Dr. Gibson was inducted into the Georgia Debate Coaches Hall of Fame. He was also named one of the top eight speech teachers in the nation.  

Communication Studies Advisory Committee

  • Dr. Melanie Conrad
  • Dr. Michael Hester
  • Dr. Amy Mendes
  • Dr. Misty Wilson

Previous Gibson Public Speaking Contest winners:

  • Zoe LaBreche, 2022 (Amy Mendes, Advisor)
  • Zoe Giese, 2020 (Misty Wilson, Advisor)
  • Jessica Friedl, 2019 (Bruce Daniel, Advisor)
  • Esteban Vallejo, 2018 (Misty Wilson, Advisor)
  • Gershom Chan, 2017 (Michael Hester, Advisor)
  • Bode Brooks, Lucas Brock and Andrea Daniel, 2016
  • Tim Bergquist, 2015 (Bruce Daniel, Advisor)
  • Sydney Rae West, 2014 (Gail Reid, Advisor)
  • Daniel Garner, 2013 (Melanie Conrad, Advisor)
  • Christina DeMartina, 2012 (Bruce Daniel, Advisor)
  • Mandy Morris, 2011 (Gail Reid, Advisor)
  • Anthony Duffey 2010 (Gail Reid, Advisor)
  • Chelsie Wilson, 2009 (Bruce Daniel, Advisor)
  • Jennifer Joiner, 2008 
  • Cheryl Ann Frazier, 2007 
  • Katherine England, 2006 
  • Artisia Tinny, 2005 
  • Jim Martz, 2004 (Peggy Gauthier, Advisor)