Berry College speakers past and present were honored for excellence during the National Forensic Association’s 40th Annual National Tournament, held at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Highlights for Berry were numerous, including a seventh-place finish in Division II, a new inductee into the NFA Hall of Fame and, perhaps most impressive, presentation of the Dr. Seth Hawkins NFA Founder’s Award for four decades of outstanding achievement.
The Founder’s Award is an annual distinction presented to the institution that has accumulated the most points all-time in national competition. When a team receives the award, its total is returned to zero. Berry has competed in a total of 29 NFA national tournaments, beginning in the 1970s and ’80s and continuing for 20 straight years from 1991 to 2010. Teams under the direction of three different faculty advisors, Dr. Doug Jennings, Dr. Bob Frank and Dr. Randy Richardson, have contributed to this impressive history of success.
A great tournament for Berry continued with the induction of John Coleman into the NFA Hall of Fame. Coleman, a 2004 graduate, was the NFA’s top speaker his senior year, advancing to final-round competition in four different events. The award also recognizes his contributions to the community at large through activities related to public speaking. Coleman has enjoyed success as a published author, an international business consultant and today is a candidate for two master’s degrees at Harvard University, where he will serve as the 2010 “Class Day” speaker for the Harvard Business School. He is the third Berry speaker to be inducted into the NFA Hall of Fame, joining 1994 alumnus Andy Wood and 1997 graduate David Lindrum.
Capping this year’s tournament was a strong performance by Berry’s latest collection of outstanding speakers. This year’s group earned a top 10 finish in the divisional standings, which ranks teams of similar size. In addition, Dr. Richardson, Berry’s director of forensics, was elected to a fourth term on NFA’s Executive Council.
Students participating in this year’s tournament included:
• Lauren Holstein, a sophomore French major from Norcross, Ga.
• Kali McMillian, a sophomore music major from Grayson, Ga.
• Alex Middleton, a sophomore communication major from Stone Mountain, Ga.
• Melissa Moore, a freshman from Ringgold, Ga.
• Joshua Roye, a senior sociology and religion major from Calhoun, Ga., who plans to graduate in spring 2011
• Steven Walker, a junior communication major from Lilburn, Ga.
• Thomas Yungerberg, a sophomore communication major from Canton, Ga.