The UT Speech team shown displaying the hookem sign around a large trophy

The UT Tower will glow in burnt orange to begin the evening of Saturday, May 13 in recognition of the Texas Speech team for winning the national championship for a second consecutive year.

The Tower will shine with burnt orange lights from sunset until 9:30 p.m., when the Tower will darken to honor the life of Peter T. Flawn, who was twice the president of the university and one of its most distinguished leaders.

Texas Speech — the official intercollegiate competitive speech team in the Moody College of Communicationwon its second consecutive American Forensic Association (AFA) national team championship at the National Individual Events Tournament (NIET) in Peoria, Ill., on April 4.

During competitions and tournaments, the Texas Speech team addresses an array of issues, including politics, identity, culture, social understanding, current events, presidential politics and international affairs.

The Longhorns were led by captains Cole Hanzlicek and Marianna Garcia and paced by top 10 overall performances from sophomore Bianca Montgomery, senior Alishan Alibhai, and junior Abigail Onwunali, who also won two individual national titles in both prose and poetry interpretation. The squad finished in front of perennial powers Western Kentucky University, George Mason University, host school Bradley University, and the University of Alabama, who made up the top five.

Senior Lecturer Martin “Randy” Cox (B.A. ’91, M.A. ’94), director of the university’s Individual Events Program known as “Texas Speech,” said it was one of the most difficult contests in the 40-year history of the tournament with four schools in contention for the team title from start to finish.

“This is one of the most extraordinary fights our students have had to overcome,” said Cox, who has coached four other Texas Speech squads to national victory and been at UT Austin since 1991 excluding a five-year stint in Boston from 1994 to 1999. “They scrapped with more tenacity than any other team I’ve ever had before.”

Read more about the team’s National Championship victory.