Business Administration student Andrew Rand wins Ivy Tech’s first-ever student speech competition

From left to right: Andrew Rand, Jennifer Barry, Faith Weesner and Jonathan Weiss

KOKOMO, Ind. – Ivy Tech Business Administration student Andrew Rand won the college’s first-ever Speak Up. Speak Out. (SUSO) Project on Wednesday night in Kokomo, raising more than $300 for Kokomo Urban Outreach in the process. Rand, selected by a panel of judges, beat out hundreds of students for the top honor in the public speaking competition that pitted students in the 14 Fundamentals of Public Speaking classes on the Kokomo campus against each other. By winning, Rand earned free tuition for one class next semester.

In addition to Rand, two other student speakers were selected for honors. Professional Communication Student Jonathan Weiss earned second-place honors with his speech advocating on behalf of Kokomo Urban Outreach while the People’s Choice Award, an honor voted on by the audience who donated money to their favorite speaker’s cause, went to nursing student Jennifer Barry who raised $160 for Mental Health America of Howard County. The other finalists for the event included nursing student Faith Weesner and general studies student Jennifer Perdue.

The SUSO Project is a voluntary speech competition in which students advocated on behalf of a local nonprofit to raise money and encourage support. Each SUSO participant first delivered his or her persuasive speech in public speaking class, with the best in each of the 14 class sections moving on to participate in the preliminary competition in front of a panel of judges. The judges then narrowed the competition down to five finalists who competed in the SUSO Project Finals on Wednesday evening.

The SUSO Project has two broad purposes: to help students connect the principles of public speaking with civic responsibility and to start them on the road to civic engagement through interaction with a community organization.  It gives students the opportunity to connect the lessons of their public speaking class to “real-world” application, using principles learned in class to attempt to steer an audience toward a very real goal.

Ivy Tech’s Professional Communication Program provides students with a rich background in the arts and sciences, equipping them with problem solving skills, communication and writing abilities, and experience in communicating and designing texts using information technologies. Ivy Tech offers an Associate of Science degree in Professional Communication that will transfer to IU Kokomo and Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. For more information about the Professional Communication Program or the Speak Up. Speak Out. Project, contact Program Chair and Associate Professor Joshua Rockey at 800-459-0561, ext. 385, or


About Ivy Tech Kokomo Region

Ivy Tech Community College Kokomo Region serves Cass, Fulton, Howard, Miami, and Tipton counties and includes campuses or instructional sites in the communities of Kokomo, Logansport, Peru, and Rochester. Ivy Tech serves as the state's engine of workforce development, offering affordable degree programs and training that are aligned with the needs of its community along with courses and programs that transfer to other colleges and universities in Indiana. It is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association. For more information, visit
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