Student body president wins world championship in persuasive speaking


Jesten Richardson

Student Body President Hunter Barclay received a crystal globe last week after winning a world championship in persuasive speaking at the International Forensics Association Tournament in Berlin, Germany.

Student Body President Hunter Barclay returned to Marshall University a world champion last weekend, after competing in an international tournament in Germany with Marshall’s Thundering Word Speech and Debate Team.

In addition to placing fourth in the tournament’s impromptu speaking event, Barclay, a senior member of the Thundering Word team, won the world championship in persuasive speaking at the International Forensics Association Tournament in Berlin.

“I started crying as soon as they announced second place because then I knew that he was champion,” said Clara Adkins, director of forensics at Marshall and a head coach of the Thundering Word. “It was a very proud moment for Marshall, for our team, but especially for him because he works really hard and deserves everything he gets.”

As a senior, Barclay said he wanted to end his speech and debate career “with an exclamation mark,” and by winning a world championship, he was able to meet a goal he has had since his freshman year of winning a national or international championship. He said when he won the world championship in persuasive speaking he was also thrilled to hear the response of his teammates and coaches.

“They roared with excitement and were yelling and shouting,” Barclay said. “I think there might have been a little bit of crying. So, seeing their reaction was the most special part of it because we really do work as a team, and it was great to see their support. I felt very excited for the university and my team because we work really hard. The university gave us the financial support and donors, so knowing that that all came to fruition was an amazing feeling.”

In addition to a world champion title, Barclay received a crystal globe, which he said was a “special award” given at the international tournament this year in honor of a speech and debate coach who had traveled to the tournament almost 30 times throughout his career and who was going to turn 100 this year.

Adkins said she thought the crystal globe Barclay received was beautiful and “so appropriate,” something that Barclay could keep and place somewhere in his home and be proud of forever.

Only the world champion in each event was given a crystal globe, she said, while all of the other competitors who placed at the international tournament received certificates.

Barclay said persuasion was one of the first events he began with at Marshall. He said Marshall has always done well in persuasive speaking, and winning in the persuasive speaking event was special to him knowing that he is able to continue that “tradition of excellence.”

“I think it’s something that he can put on any resume, and it’s going to immediately attract the attention of any possible employer,” Adkins said. “It’s a huge boost for Marshall. We will be recognized as an international phenomenon, so to speak, with our persuasive winner.”

Jesten Richardson can be contacted at [email protected]