Make Your Mark

Make Your Mark

Lance Allen '13: Talking the Talk & Walking the Walk

A week after taking second place at an impromptu speech meet, international relations major Lance Allen can’t remember the topic on which he spoke.

“Sometimes I don’t know whether I’m coming or going,” admitted the 20-year-old from Peoria. Despite his hectic schedule, Lance not only gets things done, he excels. As part of McKendree’s nationally-ranked debate team, he has rubbed elbows with some of the best collegiate-level speakers in the country.

“In parliamentary debate, they announce the topic and you’re given 20 minutes to formulate an argument. Then you go to the room and talk,” Lance explained.

Debaters are given use of a computer during preparation time. But impromptu speaking is totally off the cuff.

“For the impromptu, they gave me two minutes to prepare an eight-minute speech,” Lance said. That not a problem. I’m pretty good at thinking on my feet.”

In high school, Lance twice qualified for state in extemporaneous speaking, which remains his favorite category. Upon joining McKendree’s debate and individual events team, he became a member of Pi Kappa Delta, the national forensics honor society.

Though Lance does not consider himself an outgoing person, he is seldom at a loss for words.

“It’s true I like to talk. But I’m not a boisterous person. I can just talk to people easily and not make a fool of myself.”

Extemporaneous topics often are based on politics or the economy, two subjects dear to his heart, Lance said. “I think I’d like to be a college professor. I’d love to teach political science or world history.”

Raised in the Methodist church, Lance also feels a calling to public service. He is a McKendree resident assistant and enjoys volunteering within the campus ministry program.

“I’m on Campus Ministries’ core team,” he explained. “It’s a leadership team of five kids. We divvy up what we do. We have people who pick the hymns and help the chaplain plan events and programs. We try to get others involved.”

Over spring break, Lance hopes to travel to Chicago on a Campus Ministries mission trip. When he returns, he will perform with the McKendree Concert Band.

“I’ve played trombone from fifth grade on,” said Lance, who also plays in the University’s Marching Bearcat Band. “Ironically, I think music is my favorite thing of everything I do. In high school, I was in an honors jazz band. I’ll never be good enough to perform professionally but it’s something I’ll always love.”

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