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Brownson Speech Team

Brownson Speech and Debate Team

Students on 2015-16 team: 9
Years at Seton Hall: 75
Since 1985 over 9,500 awards
Awards won in 2009-2010: 260

Mission Statement

The Brownson Speech Team of Seton Hall University fully supports the university's mission to foster academic and ethical development of students and to prepare them to become leaders in their professional and community lives. The team flourishes as a competitive, academic, co-curricular activity dedicated to the advancement of logic, argumentative skills, advocacy, creativity, rhetorical excellence, and performance artistry through undergraduate intercollegiate forensics. This enriching activity spans the growth of leadership, determination, hard work, and effective communication. Further, this activity increases students' awareness and critical evaluation of current political, social, economic, and cultural issues.

What do we do?

The Brownson team has a tradition of rhetorical excellence stemming back over 75 years. Students on the team compete with different colleges and universities in a wide variety of speaking events. Events include three categories: Limited Preparation, Public Address, and Oral Interpretation of Literature. Students who compete in Limited Prep perform Extemporaneous Speaking and Impromptu Speaking. Public Address events consist of After Dinner Speaking, Persuasive Speaking, Informative Speaking and Communication Analysis. Students interested in Oral Interpretation compete in Prose, Poetry, Program Oral Interpretation, Dramatic Dup and Single Interpretation of Drama.

Where do we do it?

The team travels to college campuses across the nation. Most regularly scheduled tournaments occur on the east coast between Massachusetts and Virginia and as far west as Pennsylvania.

When do we do it?

The forensics season is year round. The team competes from October until April.

Who can participate?

The team is open to all full-time undergraduate students. All members must audition. The team also recruits high school students with forensics background. Most members receive a partial scholarship for active membership. Any student who would like to set up an audition should contact the Director, Prof. Catherine Zizik at

Why do we do it?

Student testimonials:

"I enjoy the competitive nature of Brownson coupled with performance. It creates a safe space to talk about messages that matter. Through forensics, you gain communication skills that can be applied to the work force and everyday life. You gain the ability to not only be a better communicator, but listener as well. Also you gain friendships with some of the creative and innovative minds across the country."
Stephanie Gomulka, class of 2016

"Whether it involves class, work, or leisure activities, the affect Brownson has had on my college life is all encompassing. It has given me skills that so few people will ever experience.”
Joseph Deaux '08, School of Diplomacy & International Relations, Asian Studies, Mediaglobal UN Correspondent

“I find the Brownson Speech Team to not only be educational and excellent experience for the real world, but also a fun way to connect and network with people from around the country and here on campus.  As a competitor, I love the forensics environment. I know it will be a valuable asset for years to come."
Ryan Dicovitsky '11, School of Diplomacy and International Relations

“Coming onto the Brownson team, I had automatic Seton Hall family. More than any other activity, the speech team has helped me to learn more about my own work ethic, speaking abilities, and capabilities to balance time. There is no greater support system available than the Brownson team. Our coaches also provide me with additional support. My events encourage me to stay on top of current events, think on my feet, and make clear presentations. Brownson has taken me from New York City, to Washington D.C., and to California… all in one year.”
Nastassia Weber '08, School of Diplomacy and International Relations


  • Approximately 400 awards won in tournaments
  • Placements at NFA Nationals with full squad: 12th in the nation
  • Placement at NFA Nationals with 3 students: 3rd in the nation in the Presidents Division, 18th in the nation, overall

2014-15 Team Highlights

  • Teams of between 3-10 students competed at 19 tournaments
  • Team earned approx. 230 individual and team awards in 2014—2015. These awards included 4 first place team sweepstakes, 5 second place sweepstakes, 24 first place awards and 29 second place awards
  • Team placed in at least the top 5 schools at 15 of the 19 tournaments attended
  • All members of the team won awards
  • Ranked 1st in the nation, Division II, Christian Forensics Association National Tournament held at Denver, CO, March, 2015 (Earned 16 award in total including 2 individual national championship titles earned by Stephanie Golumka)
  • Team qualified 40 events for the National Forensics Association National Tournament and 28 events for the American Forensics Association
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