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Pre-July 2009 Press Archives

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10/27/2005 Mahaffey forensics tourney celebrates 75 years

McMINNVILLE - Innovative events, community gatherings and returning alumni will highlight a celebration of 75 years of speaking tradition at Linfield College.

Collegiate speakers from across the Northwest will compete in the 75th annual R.D. Mahaffey Memorial Forensics Tournament Nov. 11-13 at Linfield. The tournament is one of the oldest intercollegiate tournaments in the region and honors Roy "Hap" Mahaffey for his pioneering efforts with forensics in the Northwest and the nation.

The tournament was first held in the 1930-1931 school year and has been running continuously since then, according to Jackson Miller, director of forensics at Linfield.

"There’s a great tradition associated with hosting the tournament each year," Miller said. "Forensics is one of the few venues that emphasizes and rewards the process of people sharing ideas and performances with one another. Our student speakers do this for the enjoyment of communicating with an audience and engaging in an exchange of ideas."

More than 400 competitors and 75 coaches and judges, representing 30 schools, are expected to participate. Linfield students will compete as well as help to organize and host the event. The tournament is sponsored by the Linfield Forensics Program, the Department of Theatre and Communication Arts and the Oregon Alpha Chapter of Pi Kappa Delta forensics honorary. It is a National Parliamentary Debate Association sanctioned tournament for 2005-2006.

The tournament will offer novice, junior and open division parliamentary debate and individual events. Individual categories will include informative speaking, extemporaneous speaking, after-dinner speaking, prose interpretation, persuasive speaking, impromptu speaking, communication analysis, duo interpretation and poetry interpretation.

Two special events will also be offered. Competitors in "Interpretation of Women’s Oratory" will present dramatic readings of excerpts from literature written by women. "Character Debate," a light-hearted event, will feature rounds of debate between two-person teams with each debater performing as and representing the opinions of a famous personality.

"They must imitate the mannerisms and speaking voices, so it is fun to watch," Miller said. "It’s a challenge to students in that they’re debating from a perspective of another person."

Community gatherings will also be held to honor the 75th anniversary. A tournament dinner will be held Friday, Nov. 11, at 8 p.m. in Dillin Hall. The dinner will feature an "open mic" alumni showcase session during which forensics alumni will have five minutes to perform or speak. In addition, a reception for alumni and coaches will be held on Saturday, Nov. 12, at 5:30 p.m. in Ford Hall.

Judges are needed for the tournament. For more information or to volunteer to serve as a judge, contact Miller at 503-883-2625 or