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USD Speech and Debate Team Earns Board of Regents Recognition

VERMILLION, S.D. – The University of South Dakota speech and debate team earned recognition for academic excellence from the South Dakota Board of Regents for its 2016-2017 season.

“After attending the 2016 National Forensics Association championship, we established the goal of becoming a nationally competitive team in 2016-2017,” said Shane Semmler, the team’s coach and associate professor in the communication studies department. “In pursuit of that goal, we organized our schedule around several national tournaments where we competed against the country’s best teams. With that difficult schedule, we became more competitive in our region and won over 150 individual or team awards, including the Dakota’s championship.”

The team placed in the top 30 at this year’s NFA championship and eighth in its division. Semmler said they are already looking forward to next year.

“We proudly met our 2016-2017 goal of becoming a nationally competitive team. In 2017-2018, our goal is to build upon our successes and improve our performance at the NFA championship,” said Semmler.

The team was selected by the Board of Regents to be recognized for outstanding contributions to the academic environment.

The USD speech and debate team is sponsored by the Department of Communication Studies, the College of Arts & Science, the Student Government Association and generous endowments provided by Bob Frieberg, Elaine Miller, Dr. Harold Jordan and Frank E. Stephan.


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 84 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, Knudson School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Hanna DeLange
USD News