A group of Texas Speech students pictured with two trophies and each showing the hookem sign

The University of Texas at Austin Tower will glow burnt orange May 7 to celebrate the Texas Speech team winning a national title.

The Texas Speech team won the 2016 American Forensic Association National Individual Events Tournament in Florida this past month. The UT Austin students won five out of 11 national championships for individual events plus the top overall speaker award, capturing six individual titles overall and breaking a national record.

Established in 1988, Texas Speech also won national titles in 1994, 1995, 2001 and 2002 and has finished in the top six programs nationally every year since 1989. This year’s team consists of 32 students from disciplines across the university, with a large representation of members from the Moody College of Communication.

Typical topics addressed at tournaments include issues of politics, identity, culture, social understanding, current events, presidential politics, and international affairs.

“Speech is one of the most important activities a student can learn because it teaches high-level communication skills and an ability to understand and empathize with an audience,” says Senior Lecturer Martin “Randy” Cox (B.A. ’91, M.A. ’94), the team’s coach. “The programs we compete against inspire and motivate us because they are run by extraordinarily talented individuals and we have to get better every year to keep pace with them.”

Read more about the Texas Speech team’s national title.