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Class finds a voice in revolution

Sarah Sleeger
Staff Writer

Students at the University of La Verne are being conditioned to lead their generation with revolutionary speeches in the style of those given by Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and John F. Kennedy.

The honors program has recently added Voices of Revolution, a seminar centered around those who used their voices to lead revolutions and change society.

The class is taught by Ian Lising, chair of speech and debate, and Thomas Caughron adjunct professor of history and politicial science, and encourages students to dig deeper and understand what made these speeches revolutionary so they can then apply that information to themselves and become our generation’s next revolutionary voice.

“I take the speech communication side of it, he takes the history side of it, and we merge the two into this beautiful fusion,” Lising said.

“This is the first time we’ve taught it, but it already feels like Ian and I have been team teaching together for years,” Caughron said.

When Lising and Caughron sat down for lunch they discussed and developed ideas that would eventually form into the seminar.

The professors have divided the speeches into five main sections: Personal Freedoms, Identity Politics, Freedom Fighters, Nationalism and Globalization.

Speakers covered include Queen Elizabeth I, President Barack Obama, Gandhi, Adolf Hitler and many more.

Lising said he is frequently asked where are the revolutionary public speakers of today.

“We hide behind our blogs; there is no edit button and it’s scary to people, and that’s why this is a skill people need to have,” Lising said.

On Sept. 21 David Amess, a member of the British Parliament, will speak to the class about prominent British speeches and the importance of them today.

The atmosphere in the classroom during this seminar is like an electric discussion among friends that opens the mind to what makes these speeches memorable and revolutionary.

“The name alone brought me to this class,” said Cris Gutierrez, a sophomore psychology major.

“The students are bright and engaging,” Caughron said. “It is an enormous privilege to teach this class.”

At the end of the seminar, students will create and present a speech that will allow them to dip into the art of public speaking. These speeches are open to the public and will be held from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Dec. 9 in Morgan Auditorium.

Voices of Revolution will be offered as an upper division elective next semester and will be open to students outside of the honors program.

The main idea Lising wants his students to take from the class is simple, “Be a part of your revolution, whatever that revolution may be.”

Sarah Sleeger can be reached at sarah.sleeger@laverne.edu.

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