Skip to main content

Minnesota State University Forensics Program. Collection, 1874-Ongoing.

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSU Archives Collections 213

Scope and Contents

The Minnesota State University, Mankato Forensics Program collection includes information specific to the Mankato program as well as national and regional Forensics event information. The collection has been divided into six series. Items in each section have been arranged alphabetically. The series are: Minnesota State University, Mankato Forensics, Interstate Oratory Association, Intercollegiate Speech Tournament Results Books, American Forensics Association-National Individual Event Tournament, Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota, and Other Forensics Organizations.

Minnesota State University, Mankato Forensics: This series contains materials specific to the Minnesota State Mankato Forensics program, which includes scrapbooks, conference development, video of past MSU Forensics teams as well as electronic and hard copies of team photographs. Most records are from 1994, 1996, 2000, 2002, or undated.

Interstate Oratory Association (IOA): This series contains award winning speeches presented at the Interstate Oratory Association contest from 1874-2014; earlier years only contain first and/or second place speeches while later years typically contain every speech presented at the contest. Some folders also contain tab/tournament information. This series also contains historical information about past IOA contests, minutes from the IOA annual meetings, and miscellaneous contest speeches and essays regarding oration.

Intercollegiate Speech Tournament Results Books (ISTR): This series contains printed booklets with the results of every tournament during the speech seasons of 1968-1981 & 1984-1992.

American Forensics Association, National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET): This series contains final-round videos of some platform events (informative and persuasive speaking) from the years of 1996-1999, persuasion in 2000 and 2003, and communication analysis in 1999 and 2000. Additional information about this organization is available online. American Forensics Association – National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) -

Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota (CTAM) (previously the Speech Association of Minnesota [SAM]): This series contains meeting minutes, agendas, journals, professional correspondences, award luncheons, budgetary information and videos from CTAM and SAM meetings. CTAM (previously SAM) is a professional association dedicated to coordinating, advocating for, and serving communication/theater/forensics educators and professionals in the state of Minnesota.

Communication and Theater Association of Minnesota Journal (and predecessor Speech Association of Minnesota Journal) – Volume 1-17, 18-33 are available in this collection. Volume 34-present is available online.

Other Forensics Organizations: This series includes materials from the National Development Conference (NDC-IE) and the National Forensics League (NFA).

· National Development Conference (NDC-IE): The NCD meets periodically to discuss forensics pedagogy and philosophy, objectives, and national tournament structure. This series contains materials regarding the NDC-IE's of 1988, 1990, 1997, 2000, 2008, and 2010. o Published Proceedings

· National Forensics Association (NFA): Video recordings of final round performances (rhetorical criticism in 1987. Persuasive speaking, rhetorical criticism, extemporaneous speaking, and informative speaking in 1990, impromptu speaking in 1999). This series contains miscellaneous folders related to various Minnesota-based conferences and regional forensics tournaments. Including:

· 1921-1925 Minnesota State Intercollegiate Oratorical Association tournament invitations, minutes, and tab sheets.

· Miscellaneous conference papers and texts on public speaking and pedagogy.


  • 1874-Ongoing

Biographical / Historical

The Minnesota State University, Mankato forensic program began in January 1931 when a group of students under the leadership of Selma E. Mellgren, head of the Speech Department, met to discuss procedures for the development of the school’s first debate team. Individual event competition was added to the program with the inception of this branch of forensic activity in the 1970s. Today the Speech and Debate Team (Forensics Team) is part of the Communication Studies Department within the College of Arts and Humanities.

The history of the program is unique for two key reasons; the longevity of the program and the significant influence program leaders have had on forensic practice and education. First, Maverick forensics is not only one of the oldest student organizations on the Minnesota State Mankato campus, but also one of the original and most consistently active Individual Events teams in the nation. Minnesota State University, Mankato is one of less than 10 colleges or universities to have attended every American Forensic Association – National Individual Events Tournament since the event’s inception. The longevity of the program is a testament to the presence of strong institutional support as well as decades of influential program leadership.

The history of Maverick forensics is also unique due to the influence program participants have had on forensic practice and education. Most notably, Professor Larry Schnoor served as the Director of Forensics at Minnesota State University from 1964-1993. Larry Schnoor helped develop the concept for the National Individual Events Tournament, and was instrumental in creating many of the descriptions for our current competition events. He has been the recipient of the 2007 Wallace A. Bacon Lifetime Teaching Excellence Award, the AFA-NIET Distinguished Service Award, the AFA Distinguished Service Award, as well as the District IV Service Award. In his “retirement,” he currently serves as the Tournament Director for the AFA-NIET and Executive Secretary of the Interstate Oratorical Association.

Dan Cronn-Mills followed Larry Schnoor as the Director of Forensics serving until 2003. Dr. Cronn-Mills has also been an outstanding leader in forensics. Most notably he conceived and developed the first Master of Fine Arts degree (MFA-Forensics) in communication studies in the nation, developed the computer processes used for scheduling and tabulating two of the major national tournaments, developed the Online Index of Forensic Research, and was elected as the first individual-events oriented scholar to the presidency of the American Forensic Association since the organization’s inception in 1949.

This collection also includes records from the oldest oratorical contest in the United States, the Interstate Oratory Association (IOA). Every year since 1872, IOA has sponsored a tournament inviting the top two speakers from each state. This collection contains many of those winning speeches.

Professor Larry Schnoor actively collected and preserved the materials found in this collection.

Communication Studies - MSU Forensics - American Forensics Association -

American Forensics Association – National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET) -


10.50 Cubic Feet (9 Archives Record Boxes 2 Hollinger Boxes 1 Oversized Box)

Language of Materials



The Minnesota State University, Mankato Forensics Program collection contains records of the University’s Forensics program including showcase videos, tournament results, and scrapbooks. The collection also includes coverage of national forensic tournaments such as Interstate Oratory Association (IOA), American Forensics Association (AFA) and National Forensics Association (NFA) as well as regional Communication Study conferences (meeting minutes, programs, and correspondence between executive boards). Most of these materials were donated by Professor Larry Schnoor.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Professor Larry Schnoor in July 2015.

Many of the archived records in this collection are related to Dr. Larry Schnoor's work with forensics on a national and regional scale, including his work with Communication Studies and Forensics organizations in Minnesota.

Minnesota State University Forensics Program. Collection, 1874-Ongoing.
Brandon Paris McCasland and Kathryn Paris McCasland
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2016-04: This collection was processed by Brandon Paris McCasland and Kathryn Paris McCasland
  • 2017-01: Michael Collins updated the collection
  • 2017-03: Mee Xiong updated the finding aid
  • 2020-03: Kaylee Matuszak made an addition to the collection and updated the finding aid

Repository Details

Part of the Minnesota State University, Mankato University Archives Repository

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Memorial Library
PO Box 8419
Mankato MN 56002-8419 US