Eastern Michigan University Forensics places No. 2 in the nation in latest competition; continues long streak of national prominence

The EMU Forensics team at the Nation Championship Tournament in Peoria.

YPSILANTI – The Eastern Michigan University Forensics team placed second in the nation in the National Championship Tournament of the National Forensics Association. EMU student Gavin Millard, a sophomore majoring in public relations, was named national champion in dramatic interpretation, becoming Eastern’s first national champion in this category. 

EMU Forensics entered 94 performances in the national competition, which occurred at Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois, on April 13-17. The team beat universities such as Rice University, The University of Texas at Austin, University of Chicago and Northwestern University.

"I am so happy for the students and coaches on our team,” said Dennis O'Grady, interim director for EMU’s School of Communication, Media, and Theatre Arts. “To finish second in the nation is quite an accomplishment and is a result of their incredible talent, determination, and hard work."

The national tournament reflects EMU Forensics as one of the most successful academic teams in the nation. Each year the team comes back stronger by building on its 50-year tradition of excellence.

In addition to Millard, the following students achieved national awards in their respective categories:

  • Cedrick Charles, a junior double majoring in political science and economics from West Palm Beach, Florida., took second place in persuasive speaking, third place in duo interpretation with Diontae Threats, fourth place in program oral interpretation and individual pentathlon 

  • Louise Engohang, a sophomore double majoring in political science and philosophy, placed second in rhetorical criticism

  • Sarah Dubinsky, a senior majoring in environmental science with a concentration in biology and minors in business and marketing, is from Ohio and took fourth in dramatic interpretation, fifth in poetry, and eighth in the nation overall in individual sweepstakes

  • Geoff Gauthier, a senior majoring in secondary education, social studies historical comprehensive, from St Joseph, Mich, took fifth place in extemporaneous speaking

  • Diontae Threats, a freshman majoring in English, from Ohio,  took third place in duo interpretation with Cedrick Charles

  • AbdurRahman Elder, a sophomore majoring in public relations with a minor in electronic media and film studies, from Canton, Mich., took fifth place in novice extemporaneous speaking 

Diontae Threats, a first-year forensics member, reflecting on the experience said, “EMU and specifically EMU Forensics have been a welcoming community and engaging group that has made my first year on campus one to remember! Preparing for the competition  was a long and worthwhile experience I will never forget.” 

“We are thrilled about this success and owe a massive thank you to President Smith and Provost Longworth for supporting the forensics team,” said Timothy Ward, director of Forensics at EMU. “This year's success is especially meaningful to our team because it is the 50-year anniversary of EMU’s first national championship in forensics. To be able to embody and extend our tradition of excellence is our mission and privilege.”

“After many years in this activity, what mattered most was not the success, but the people who believed I could succeed,” said Sarah Dubinsky, a senior majoring in environmental science with a concentration in biology and minors in business and marketing at EMU.

Notable past EMU national champions include Brenda Alten, lead of Human Resources Communications with the J.M. Smucker Company; and the late Emeritus Professor Judy Sturgis Hill, a distinguished professor and EMU’s first National Champion, for whom the building that houses the University’s School of Communication, Media and Theatre Arts was renamed in her honor.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University's rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today.

April 18, 2023

Written by:
Melissa Thrasher

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher