The Faculty


Bob Withycombe, Director of Forensics


Whitman News

1. A two million dollar addition to the science building was completed.

2. ASWC secretary Brady Jensen resigned in order to oust ASWC president David Nord who was running for Walla Walla City council. A “Bullshoot Forum” was created in which Jensen and Nord debated over whether or not Nord should remain in the Presidency. The following day Nord was recalled by a 7 vote margin.

3. The climbing wall opened at Sherwood.

4. Phyllis Schafly and Katherine Brady participated in a public debate on abortion.

5. Prize winning drama, The Diviners, opened at Harper Joy Theater.

6. KWCW transmission is increased to 100 watts.


World News

January 1 - Greece enters the European Community, which later becomes the European Union.

January 19 - United States and Iranian officials sign an agreement to release 52 American hostages after 14 months of captivity.

January 13 - Donna Griffiths, a schoolgirl in Pershore, Worcestershire, UK, begins an uncontrollable series of sneezes that end September 16, 1983 - after 978 days.

January 25 - The Oakland Raiders win Super Bowl XV, defeating the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana.

March 30 - U.S. President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C. hotel by John Hinckley, Jr. Two police officers and Press Secretary James Brady are also wounded.

June 22 - Iranian president Abolhassan Banisadr is deposed.

March 10 – Syzygy: all 9 planets align on the same side of the Sun. See also Jupiter effect.

March 19 – The Falklands War approaches: Argentines land on South Georgia Island, precipitating war.

June 14 – The Falklands War ends: A formal surrender is agreed this day.

October 28 – The Socialist Party wins the election in Spain; Felipe González is elected Prime Minister.


Speech Courses

The articulation and diction course is dropped in the catalogue and Bob replaces it with an Argumentation and Persuasion course..

Speech Department Description: Courses treat public speaking as a liberal art, proposing that such speaking is not a skill learned by rule but an exercise of judgment that can be no better than the speaker's understanding of the nature of the communicative acts.


SPEECH 11. Fundamentals of Speech, 3 hours.

SPEECH 36. Argumentation and Persuasion, 3 hours.

SPEECH 43, 44. Principles and Practice of Forensics, 1 hours (individual events), 2 hours (debate).


Speech Course Descriptions

Mr. Withycombe

Courses treat public speaking as a liberal art, proposing that such speaking is not a skill learned by rule but an exercise of judgment that can be no better than the speaker’s understanding of the nature of the communicative acts. (See Credit Restrictions.)

11, 11 Fundamentals of Speech                            3, 3

Training in the fundamentals of good speech, such as orderly thinking, emotional adjustment, adequate voice, distinct articulation and effective oral use of language. Speech as man’s primary means of communication, with emphasis on the preparation and delivery of various types of speeches as well as on the more informal uses of speech in daily use. Offered both semesters. Fall: Mr. Withycombe, section A, 11 M T Th; Mr. Withycombe, section B, 1-2:20 T Th. Spring: Mr. Withycombe; Ii M T Th.


36 Argumentation and Persuasion                       x, 3

Theory, preparation and practice in the art of persuasion will be the central focus of this course. Time will be devoted to the study of logic and reasoning, language development and memory, psycholinguistics and paralinguistic codes, the psychology of persuasion, the ethics of propaganda and advertising, and the structure of arguments. Students will be expected to observe, evaluate and construct logical persuasive arguments in both formal and informal settings. Spring: Mr. Withycombe; 1-2:20 T Th.


43. 46 Principles and Practice of Forensics     1-2, 1-2

  Theory, preparation, and practice of debate and/or individual speaking events. Intercol­legiate forensics. Students who are debating should register for two credits. Those who are only in individual events will normally receive one credit. May be repeated for a total of eight credits. Fall and spring: Mr. Withycombe, section A (1 credit), 6:30 p.m. T, Mr. Withycombe, section B (2 credits), 6:30 p.m.


Pioneer Newspaper Articles on the Team


Debate team triumphs

Thursday, October 22, 1981

The Whitman College Speech Team had several members place in competition among 15 colleges and universities at the Lewis and Clark College tournament Friday and Saturday. In the junior division for freshmen and sophomores, Lisa Lindsay placed third in oratory, David Bansmer was third in extemporaneous and Mike Hines and Bansmer teamed up to take second in NDT debate. Whitman entered nine people in the Portland tournament. In Open Division, Brenda Cameron placed third in rhetorical criticism and extemporaneous speaking. Under the guidance of Coach Bob Withycombe, the Speech Team will travel to Gonzaga this weekend for another fun-filled tournament.


Debate wins Another

by Elaine Ianmee

Thursday, November 5, 1981

In a twenty-four school speech competition October 31 at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Whitman College won 16 trophies in the team’s second major win of the year.

First place winners were: Jim Pogue, senior editorial commentary; Shawna Barnes, novice oratory; John Morrison, value debate speaker; and Kevin Gunning, junior extemporaneous and impromptu speaking.

Other individual and team winners were: Elaine Laramee and Reb Moreo, second, novice debate; Laramee, second, senior rhetorical criticism; Meg Kelly, second, junior editorial commentary; Kevin Loomer, second, senior editorial commentary and senior dramatic prose. Mike Bennett took second in Policy debate speaking; Dale Weideman, second, senior impromptu; Brady Jensen, second value debate speaker.

Other finalists were: Chris Johnson, senior impromptu; Dave Bansmer, junior extemporaneous speaking; Andy Jensen and John Morrison, debate team; Dave Bansmer and Mike Hines, third, junior Policy debate team; Bansmer, fourth, overall junior speaker. Carolynn Snyder was fourth in senior oratory; Brady Jensen, fourth, senior extemporaneous speaking; Meg Kelly, fifth, value debate speaker; Brenda Cameron, fifth, policy debate speaker.

“This clearly identifies Whitman as the preeminent team in the West," commented Whitman speech coach Robert Withycombe. Withycombe's claim is corroborated by Whitman's performance at the Gonzaga University Speech Tournament on the previous Saturday, October 24. Whitman also captured sweepstakes (first place) that weekend. Fifteen schools competed for this prestigious award, but Whitman gave a "tongue-lashing to e fourteen other colleges,' said Withycombe. He commented that Whitman had performed 'brilliantly.'

In individual events, the results were as follows: John Bunnell received the second place award in senior division persuasive, and Lisa Linday took third in junior division in the same event; Mike Bennett placed second in senior interpretation; Elaine Laramee won third place in senior rhetorical criticism; in extemporaneous speaking, Phil Graves was finalist in senior division and Dave Bansmer and Kevin Gunning made it into junior finals, with Gunning receiving first place.

In debate, two teams placed for Whitman. Mike Hines and Dave Bansmer were second in junior NDT, and Jim Pogue and Phil Graves finished third in open CEDA. Bansmer was third overall speaker in his division.


Withycombe rates highly as Speech Coach

“Some people, it seems, were born to teach. I came from a small farming and teaching family" says Withycombe, a forensics professor and debate coach. 'My mother is a teacher, my brother and sister are teachers, as are three aunts and a few others. Some families just seem to develop things, ours was teaching and education. So to end up at a small liberal arts college in Walla Walla was no surprise, but rather came at the perfect time. I was looking for something else after teaching speech for nine years in a Salem high school, so when Remy Wilcox (former Whitman debate coach) asked if I'd consider working here, I jumped at the chance,” explains the dark-haired, bearded Professor with a smile.


Though this is only his second year at Whitman, debaters feel that his impact on the team has been significant. “I think we're going to turn into a powerhouse, says Brenda Cameron, an all- round forensics competitor with three years' experience on the Whitman team, “and I think it's due to Bob." She cites the coach's interest in competition, saying that “he wants commitment from people. So in the Iong run we'll be a more consistent team with greater membership.” Mike Bennett, whose career in competitive speech includes three years of student-coaching at the high school level, appreciates Withycombe's approach. “He's laid-back but he will do anything he can to improve your performance if you show interest," says Bennett.


Withycombe says, "We have a strong team, with lots of depth. It's fun to work with them, helping prepare speeches and debates. Our team is quite competitive, both because of our team depth of about 22 potential winners and because of our budget, which allows us to travel a lot. Whitman draws the students from the tops of high school classes and debaters usually fall in that bracket. We've developed enough of a reputation that high schools ask about our program,” remarks Withycombe.

Debate, however, is only one of Withycombe's concerns. “I feel strongly about education in general and the direction it's going," he injects. At Whitman, he sees the strong academic program as an important point. "It's important for small colleges to develop a specific image, to set themselves apart from the herd. We seem to be accomplishing this with our focus on academics. We're special among Northwest schools and that is reflected by our student body." He continues, "We attract kids who want to work hard and, personally, that's the only kind I want to teach."


But nationally, Withycome isn't quite so pleased. 'It bothers me there's no emphasis in Oregon education. I resent Reagan for canning the Department of Education--that was a factor in our hope for civilization. “Education has definitely fallen on tough times, due to a lack of government support. We live in a nation that can only contribute $1200 to a person's education. To me, that's no commitment," he claims.


For now, he is happy with the private schools' situation, although there are a few changes he'd like to see occur at Whitman. One matter is student-teacher communication. “I'm a communications person, that's my specialty. Before decisions are made here there should be much more discussion.” he says. “Regarding recent faculty decisions, such as plus/minus grading and Greek-related changes, he says 'If more discussion was held, there wouldn't be the 'good guy versus bad guy' outlook because, ultimately, that's not how it should be. The faculty will always make the final decisions, it's their position to do so, but a deeper analysis of the problems will help both parties involved," he believes.


Outside of school Withycombe pursues an assortment of interests. He enjoys traveling and, including traveling with the debate team, has visited 17 states in the past year. He often travels with his family: his wife Nancy and two children, ages five and three.


Other interests include golfing and gambling. 'Each year I manage to get down to Reno,' he chuckles.


His evaluation of Whitman is quite good. 'Things are coming around nicely,' he concludes with a grin.


Versatility and Depth: Whitman Forensics Team 7th in the Nation

February 17, 1982

"We're the most versatile team in the Northwest," contends Bob Withycombe, director of Whitman College's successful forensics program. Whitman has been ranked seventh in the nation in value (CEDA) debate in relation to other small liberal arts colleges, and is in the top 20% even when the list is expanded to include schools such as UCLA, the Air Force Academy, and Northwestern University.

Withycombe characterizes the squad as having "incredible depth," noting that over twenty students have received awards in competition this year. Collectively, Whitman placed second overall in the recent Willamette University Tournament, in which ten students were recognized for their efforts. He adds that Whitman's record is especially impressive in that the team has attended only six tournaments thus far this year, while some other schools maintain far heavier travel schedules. The forensics director cites consistency as a target for improvement as the team enters the final stages of its competitive season. Tournaments scheduled in coming weeks include regional qualifiers for the National Individual Events Tournament, the Pi Kappa Delta Regional Tournament in Vancouver, B.C., and a meet at the University of Nevada at Reno.

The latter is considered the national values debate tournament, while success at the NIET qualifiers entitles winners to compete on the national level at a meet set for late April in Minnesota. Withycombe hopes to qualify "a couple of people" for the NIET in Minnesota. Some Whitman Speakers, including current competitor Brenda Cameron, qualified for last year's national meet but were unable to attend because of the speech team's limited budget.


Whitman Speech

April 29, 1982

Whitman College sophomore Brady Jensen placed fifth out of 70 competitors in extemporaneous speaking at the American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament at Mankato State University in Minnesota.

In other competition, Brenda Cameron and Mike Bennett were quarter- finalists in a value debate tournament held at Reno, Nevada.

Whitman ranks forty-first in the nation among 239 colleges and universities competing in value debate this year, according to Whitman speech coach Bob Withycombe.


Team Awards


Brady Jensen placed fifth in extemporaneous speaking at the National Individual Events Tournament in Mankato, Minnesota.


Megan Salzman Medica qualified for the NIET in Rhetorical Criticism for her analysis of the poem ready by Robert Frost at the inauguration of John F. Kennedy.