UTEP Establishes John McCormick Witherspoon Forensics Excellence Gift Fund

UTEP has announced the establishment of the new John McCormick Witherspoon Forensics Excellence Gift Fund, which will give $50,000 toward scholarships for students, student travel, and other needs of the University’s Forensics Program.

Under the direction of Mary C. Trejo, Ph.D., associate professor of communication, UTEP Forensics is an exciting and challenging academic activity that prepares undergraduate students to represent the University in intercollegiate speech tournaments nationwide in the areas of debate, public speaking, and oral interpretation of literature. The UTEP Forensics Team is a winning team with an outstanding state, regional and national record. It has earned a reputation for ethical competition and scholarly excellence, enhancing the academic image of UTEP from coast to coast.

“John Witherspoon was a great friend to the UTEP Forensics Program,” Trejo said. “Patricia Witherspoon’s exceptionally generous gift establishing the John McCormick Witherspoon Forensics Excellence Gift Fund in honor of his memory will have an enormous positive impact on UTEP speech and debate students, particularly in the key areas of enhanced recruitment of bright, talented competitors and of highly trained graduate teaching assistants, as well as in the increased education and training opportunities for UTEP team members resulting from expanded resources for travel to speech and debate competitions outside our region.”

John Witherspoon, husband to Dean of the College of Liberal Arts Patricia D. Witherspoon, Ph.D., passed away in April.

In endowing this fund, the Witherspoon family said, “We are very proud to establish this fund in John’s honor; he was very fond of the Forensics program at UTEP and its students and sought to raise money for it as one of his charitable activities. UTEP was a very special place to him, and we are gratified we can establish this fund which, first and foremost, benefits students from multiple UTEP departments and colleges.” 

Donors may contribute to the fund by visiting https://givingto.utep.edu/witherspoonmemorial. More information about the UTEP Forensics team and listings of their upcoming events can be found at organizations.utep.edu/forensics. 

“Exposure to the community of creative thinkers comprised of speech and debate students from all across the nation which is afforded by tournament travel is essential to the educational process in training competitive speakers,” Trejo continued. “Forensics champions are not created in an artistic vacuum; there simply is no precedent for solitary genius developing alone, isolated from the nationwide competitive forensics circuit.  Our students must get out, compete widely and exchange ideas freely with their peers from all across the nation in order to learn what it takes, what it is, that makes a national champion. The John McCormick Witherspoon Forensics Excellence Gift Fund offers UTEP students bright new prospects in their quest for achievement.”



Veronique Masterson
Public Information Officer
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Chris Lechuga
Public Affairs Specialist
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.