Public Showcases

L. E. Norton Memorial Collegiate Speech Tournament - November 7 - 8, 2015

Preparation is in full effect for the 68th Annual L. E. Norton Memorial Collegiate Speech Tournament as the Bradley University Speech Team plans to host roughly 600 college competitors, judges, and alumni. The competition on November 7 & 8, 2015 expects to bring in over 50 colleges and universities from over 20 different states to the Bradley campus. The team looks forward to honor Dr. Norton, once again, with an event marked by many as “Fall Speech Nationals” due to its large size and high level of competition.   To take some of the pressure of competition off of its guests each year, the team infuses a theme with the tournament. This year’s theme is “Jurassic Norton” inspired by the blockbuster movie series.

“To say the Norton is just a speech tournament would be saying that Jurassic World was just a movie,” said Director of Forensics Ken Young. Young continued, “While the tournament won’t bring in $1.5 billion, the presence of the tournament continues to make a significant impact on the local community and economy.”

The team will work with local restaurants and hotels, the Peoria Riverfront Museum, and Bradley University as a whole to pull off the event. The weekend will come to a dramatic close at Sunday evening’s award ceremony in the Renaissance Coliseum. Bradley University’s 11th President Gary Roberts, a former Bradley Speech Team member, will give opening remarks for the ceremony.

Late Night with the Bradley Speech Team

1-hour showcase of new material from the Bradley Speech Team.

9pm Neumiller Lecture Hall
Free Admission
Upcoming Dates:

  • August 28, 2015
  • August 26, 2016
  • August 25, 2017

Night Before Nationals

1-hour showcases of material that will be taken to Nationals!

7pm (PG) & 9pm (R-for language) Neumiller Lecture Hall
$5 Admission
Upcoming Dates:

  • March 27th & 28th, 2015
  • March 25th & 26th, 2016
  • March 24th & 25th, 2017

College Tournaments

Dan Smith Invitational

One half of the 74 Swing, this college tournament is named after former Bradley University Director of Forensics Dan Smith.  This tournament is held on the first full weekend of October. More information about the invitational can be found on

L. E. Norton Memorial Collegiate

One of the largest collegiate tournaments in the nation, this single tournament named after former Chair of the Department of Speech and  Director of Forensics Larry E. Norton occurs over the course of two days on the Bradley campus.  Both open and novice divisions are offered and have quarterfinal, semifinal, and final elimination rounds.  This tournament takes place on the first full weekend of November.  More information can be found on

Hell Froze Over Swing

Partnering with the University of Texas at Austin, Bradley hosts one half of this swing tournament offering contestants two one-day tournaments in Austin, TX (even years) or Peoria, IL (odd years).  HFO is the largest swing tournament in the nation and more information can be found on in odd years and in even years. 

High School Tournament

George Armstrong Heart of Illinois Invitational and Jay Janssen Oratorical Contest

Bradley’s high school tournament named after former Director of Forensics George Armstrong brings together schools from both Illinois and across the country.  In addition to accommodating both Illinois and national-level rules and events, the tournament showcases the Jay Janssen Oratorical Contest.  Through the generosity of alumnus Jay Janssen ’59, the top three competitors registered for this contest receive scholarships to Bradley University in the amount of $15,000, $13,000, and $12,000 for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd respectively.  This tournament takes place the first Friday and Saturday of December.  More information can be found at