Photo of Spencer Marcum

Spencer Marcum '15


  • Senior from Centralia, Illinois

  • Speech Communication and Theatre double major
  • Qualified for national competition
  • Community college transfer student
  • Youth pastor and church elder at Grace Church in Centralia

Photo of Speech Booklet
Spencer Marcum '15
has run out of room for the numerous awards he has acquired in three years on the McKendree University speech team.

“Some of my trophies are on my book shelf in the living room, along with some of the plaques,” he said. “I have a lot of trophies so I have to put most of them in storage ...”

He is especially proud of two from the highly competitive Missouri Mule speech and debate tournament in October, which drew students from throughout the U.S. Spencer and his duo interpretation partner closed out the tournament with back-to-back first place performances. Last season, he won three Missouri state championships and was the top overall performer at Murray State in Kentucky, competing against students from much larger colleges and universities.

More awards are likely to come this spring. Spencer has qualified for nationals in all of his events - an extremely uncommon accomplishment. He competes in poetry, prose, drama, duo, programmed oral interpretation, informative speaking and dramatic interpretation.

A youth pastor for three years, Spencer is at ease speaking from the pulpit as well as the podium. He began his college career by taking some English classes before moving on to seminary, but determined a bachelor’s degree would better prepare him.

“At Kaskaskia College I was introduced to the speech team, where I enjoyed some success,” he said. “I met the McKendree speech and debate coaches and we hit it off. They made my transfer to McKendree University a great one."

Photo of Spencer Marcum and Chloe Thies in Spring PlayThe speech communication major discovered he loved McKendree’s theatre program as well, and added a second major. On the Hett stage he has acted in two plays, a solo performance called “Jim Bridger, Mountaineer Man” and portraying Clark in the ensemble cast of “A Delightful Quarantine” last fall.

“Clark was an incredibly challenging character to play,” Spencer said. “The process of creating the character took a lot of effort and Michelle Magnussen (theatre director) did a great job in guiding me through the process.”

After he completes his bachelor’s degree, Spencer wants to pursue an online certificate from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary before moving on to graduate school for a doctorate in communication. He will also continue to serve his church and maintain his ties to McKendree forensics as a coach.

Quotation Graphic

“In the end I want to be a professor and speech team coach that can serve as an associate pastor, worship leader or youth minister.”


Learn more about McKendree University and the Speech and Debate program.