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The origin story of the Clemson University Speech & Debate (Forensics) Program began over a century ago. Started in 1894 as the Calhoun Forensic Society, the team now competes nationally as part of the National Forensic Association and the American Forensic Association. Competition includes activities in the following broad categories: public speaking, acting and debate. (Check out more Info on each HERE)

Clemson Speech & Debate has a history of success, regularly qualifying students to national tournaments. In 2010, the team competed in the 20th Annual International Forensics Association Tournament in Berlin, Germany.

Students in BerlinThe team also hosts tournaments (college and high school) on campus, as well as running a summer camp for high school students involved or interested in Forensics. Get more information HERE.

Great things are happening here on our tiger-country team, and we invite you to be a part of the Clemson Speech & Debate family! Check out the links above and please consider being involved as a competitor, contributor or simply by following us on twitter @ClemsonForensic!

For more information, please contact Lindsey Dixon, director of Forensics.


The Clemson University Speech & Debate Team (Forensics) is a student organization recognized by the university. The team is housed within the communication department in the College of Behavioral, Social, and Health Sciences. It started as the Calhoun Forensic Society in 1894, making it the oldest competitive team at Clemson. 



From poetry and persuasion to parliamentary debate, you are likely to find a place here on our team. There are a variety of events in which you can compete – and it is up to you which ones you want to try out! The Events available include:

  • After Dinner Speaking
  • Communication Analysis
  • Dramatic Duo
  • Dramatic Interpretation
  • Extemporaneous Speaking
  • Impromptu Speaking
  • Informative Speaking
  • Parliamentary Debate
  • Persuasive Speaking
  • Poetry Interpretation
  • Program of Oral Interpretation
  • Prose Interpretation



Clemson Speech & Debate is pleased to be hosting both college and high school tournaments. Competitors and coaches will find our campus and community to be a welcoming, energetic environment, and it is always ready for some great speeches!

The schedule for tournaments for the 2010-2011 season is as follows:

High School Tournament: February 19th

College Tournament:  March 5th

High School Camp

girl on laptop

Are you a coach or student on a high school Forensics team?  If so, Clemson University has your ticket for summer greatness!  Clemson Speech & Debate’s Summer High School Camp will provide you with personalized training to make your upcoming season your best! 

The camp will feature the following:

-Personalized, one-to-one training from a seasoned college Forensics coach*World-class research opportunities through Clemson’s library and electronic database

-Guided help with your individual work, from research and cutting, to memory and delivery

-A fun on-campus experience, great for college applications

-And MORE!

Students will stay on-campus, in student dormitories, cared for by on-hall RAs and Coaches.  The camp package includes all necessary amenities: Coaching, Lodging, Dining.  Non-Lodging options are also available for local students at a reduced cost. 

We can’t wait to sign you up!  Please check back soon for dates and brochures.


Tillman Hall

Did you graduate from Clemson University?  Were you a part of the Forensics (Speech & Debate) program?  If you have been connected to our program in the past, we would love to be connected with you now!  There are many ways Alumni can be involved --- you can sponsor an event, donate your time for judging at any of the tournaments we attend, and even simply provide photos and stories for our history books!

We would love to hear from you and add you to our Newsletter mailing list!  We will keep you updated each semester with the team’s progress, special events, and “Alumni Spotlights” where we feature special members from our Team’s past.  That might be you!

Visit our Facebook Alumni Page!

Follow us on Twitter @ClemsonForensic


FALL 2010

9/17-9/19:  Music City Invitational Tournament Swing (Tennessee State University: Nashville, TN)

9/24-9/26: Fall Fiesta Swing (Western Kentucky/Ohio University: Bowling Green, KY)

10/09-10/10: Crimson Classic and Alumni Swing (University of Alabama: Tuscaloosa, AL)

10/29-10/30: Autumn in the Mountains XIX (Berry College: Mt. Berry, GA)

11/05-11/06: BBQ Capital of the World Invitational (Owensboro Community College: Owensboro, KY)

11/19-11/21: Tennessee Porch Swing (Belmont College/Carson Newman: Nashville, TN)

SPRING 2011 (check back for more)

04/01-04/04: AFA-NIET (University of Nebraska-Kearney: Kearney, NE)

04/15-04/18: NFA Nationals (Illinois State University: Normal, IL)


What is a Forensics (speech) Team?
The Clemson University Forensics Team competes in regional and national speech tournaments. At speech tournaments, students compete in public speaking, acting events, and parliamentary debate.   

When/Where do you travel?
Our travel season starts in late August and goes until mid April. For regular season tournaments, we generally travel anywhere from 3 to 10 hours to get to a tournament. We have traveled to Tennessee, Kentucky, Virginia, Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Florida, and Pennsylvania. For national tournaments, we have traveled to places like Texas, Minnesota, California, Illinois, and Mississippi. During the 2009-2010 season, we traveled to the International Tournament in Berlin, Germany.  

What are the COSTS?
The Forensics Team pays for students’ transportation to and from tournaments, hotel, and the tournament entry fees. Students only need to pay for the food they eat while at the tournaments.

What are the requirements to be on the team?
To be on the Forensics Team you must be a Clemson University student with at least a 2.5 GPA. 

What is the time commitment?
Commitment levels vary depending on the student. Students are only required to travel to two tournaments per semester and one national tournament during the Spring semester.

Do I have to miss class to go to tournaments?
For regular season tournaments, students might have to occasionally miss class depending on the tournaments they attend. If students qualify for Nationals, they will miss class in April to attend the tournament. All absences that occur as a result of traveling to a Forensics Tournament are excused university absences.

What are the benefits of being on the team?
Being a member of the Clemson University Forensics Team has many benefits. This activity gives students opportunities to travel, create friends on the team and friends from other schools, register early for classes, and it is a great resume booster.  Students can also receive course-credit for being on the team.

Do you have scholarships?
Yes, we have scholarship money (called grant-in-aid money) to dedicated members of the forensics team.

How do I join?
Contact the Lindsey Dixon, Director of Forensics, with any questions.


student smiling

Do you like reciting dramatic monologues, being challenged with current-events politics, or debating for your values?  If so, hopefully you are interested in joining the Clemson Speech & Debate team.  We would love to have you join the Forensics family in a capacity that suits you well.  We have positions available for traveling competitors as well as on-campus team members.  Scholarships and course-credit opportunities are available.

Still in high school and trying to choose the college that’s right for you?  We would love to chat with you about the possibilities of joining the Team and making Clemson your academic home! 

If you are interested in joining, or auditioning for a scholarship position, please contact the Department of Communication.