ASU hosts Howard Dorgan Oratory Contest

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Article Published: Feb. 16, 2012 | Modified: Feb. 22, 2012

Students will be given the chance to deliver a speech to provost Lori Gonzalez about all topics related to her position as provost in the Inaugural C. Howard Dorgan Oratory Contest.

The event will take place Wednesday, Feb. 22, from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Blue Ridge Ballroom in the Plemmons Student Union.

“The Dorgan Oratory contest provides students the opportunity to develop their public speaking abilities outside the classroom and in front of a large audience,” said Jeff Motter, assistant communication professor. “Our topic, ‘Dear Provost Gonzales ...,’ offers students the opportunity to give our new provost a student’s perspective about who we are and hope to be in these trying economic times.”

The contest is named after a retired professor of communication at Appalachian, Claude Howard Dorgan, who received his speech communication at Louisiana State University-Baton Rouge.
Dorgan began teaching at Appalachian in 1971 and retired in 2000.

“This contest is a chance to first honor him, and second, to recognize his influence and role in the department in the public address area,” said Terry Cole, communication professor at Appalachian.
While at Appalachian, Dorgan received awards from The Appalachian Consortium’s Laurel Leaves Award, the Carolinas Communication’s Betty Jo Welch Service Award, and the Appalachian Studies Association’s Cratis William/James Brown Service Award.

He served as president of both the Southern States Communication Association and the Appalachian Studies Association.

Recognized most for his teaching, Dorgan received three recognitions while at Appalachian, the 1974-75 board of trustees Award in Recognition of Excellence in Teaching, the ASU Student Government Award for Outstanding Teaching and the 1993 College of Fine and Applied Arts Outstanding Faculty Award.

Cole joined the faculty the same year as Dorgan and considers him a close friend.

“Howard is, in my judgment, the quintessential professor,” Cole said. “His teaching was always highly evaluated by his students and, despite teaching a full four-course load each semester, he edited two journals, published extensively, presented papers at conferences with regularity, and wrote five books on Appalachian mountain regions. We have been friends and colleagues for many years and, in a very real sense, he was my mentor.”

Students interested in participating should make submissions in speech format and entries should be between eight to 10 minutes in length. Tryouts for the event will take place Feb. 13 and 16. To sign up, email Jeff Motter at ( Finalists will compete on Feb. 22, and the winner will be awarded a $250 prize.

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