Gary Gillespie Curriculum Vitae

Gary Gillespie is Associate Professor of Communication at Northwest University in Kirkland, Washington. He teaches public speaking and communication courses and assists with drama and the debate team. Gillespie is chair of the Communication Studies Program.

During his career he has critiqued 5,600 speeches. With 30 years experience teaching college, he is one of the most senior professors at NU.

Nominated for the national Distinguished Educator Award by The Alliance for AG Higher Education.

As a speech coach he has helped thousands of students become more eloquent, confident and accomplished public speakers.

He is owner of Swan Speech Consulting.

He designed a Workplace Communication Coaching blog Blue Sky Stratagems.

His art has appeared in more than 15 shows in our region and Vancouver, Canada.

Gillespie earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication and his Masters of Arts in Communication from Western Washington University in 1979 and 1982. He was hired at Northwest to teach speech and debate in 1985. He is the fourth most senior professor at Northwest University.

In addition to helping to coach the Eagle Debate Team, Gillespie advises the Drama Improv Team and the Film Club.


  • Introduction to Human Communication (Overview of the field of communication studies, including self talk, active listening, small group, public speaking and career development)
  • Message Design — a basic rhetoric class in how to create and analyze persuasive messages.
  • Senior Synthesis — cap stone course for majors
  • Intercultural Communication
  • Analysis of Famous Speeches (Study best speakers from ancient to modern times)
  • Advanced Public Speaking (Commemorative speeches, speeches to entertain, impromptu speaking, debate and persuasion)
  • Fundamentals of Speech (Introductory course in public speaking. Gillespie has taught this course more than 100 times)
  • Anthropology of Northwest Native Peoples — travel course to Canada
  • Debating Controversies (Learn to debate significant issues affecting society, learn to research and prepare persuasive cases)

Gillespie Poems and Essays Blog

Some Publications

• Gillespie, Gary  Window to the Past: The Role of Quantum Entanglement in Memory, June, 2014. Published in The Journal of Consciousness Research and Exploration June, 2014. 

• Gillespie, Gary The Force of Reasoning: Insight from Physics on the Nature of Argument  July, 2014. This paper now under review compares recent discoveries in physics to processes of the human mind.

• Gillespie, Gary  Binary Opposition in the Comedy of Errors: An Actor’s Analysis of Shakespeare’s First Play. February 28, 2014. Now under review for publication.

• Gillespie, Gary “Pinocchio Shrugged: Character Intentionality as Artificial Intelligence
— the Suspension of Disbelief in Robots as Persons.”  A version presented at the Faith in the Humanities Conference, Kirkland, Spring 2009. Under review for publication now. Read the paper here.

MORE publications

  • Art of Debate: Nonviolent War Games — draft in process.
  • Gillespie, Gary “Take My Partner, Please: Use of Humor in World Style Debating.” A paper presented at the Western States Communication Association Convention, Seattle, WA, February 18, 2007.The paper accepted for publication in Parliamentary Debate, Journal of the National Parliamentary Debate Association.
  • Gillespie, Gary “Moral Relativism in Pro-Choice Rhetoric: a Reply to Stephan Sullivan,” Values Newsletter, A Publication of The Highlands Center for Faculty Initiatives at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA. Vol. 13, Issue 2, Spring 2006, pp 1 – 4. Read Gillespie’s Article Read Sullivan’s article
  • Gillespie, Gary “Happiness as Pedagogy: A Model for Teaching Ethics,” Values Newsletter, A Publication of The Highlands Center for Faculty Initiatives at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA. Vol. 12, Fall 2004, pp 1 – 2.
  • Gillespie, Gary “Let the Games Begin: Tips for Winning Debates,” IDEBATE, magazine of the International Debate Education Association, January 2003.
  • Gillespie, Gary “Message in an Electronic Bottle: the Internet After 9/11.” Interface: The Journal of Education, Community and Values of the Berglund Center for Internet Studies, August-September, 2002.
  • Gillespie, Gary “Are We Having Fun Yet? A Debater’s Guide to Happiness.” Parliamentary Debate, Journal of the National Parliamentary Debate Association, Pacific Lutheran University, Tacoma, WA. 5 vol.1 (2000, August) 70—79

Newspaper and Television Reports
Press releases about the Northwest University Debate team generated reports in the following publications and broadcasts:

• The Seattle Times ten times
• The King County Journal 17 times
• The Kirkland Reporter ten times
• The Seattle Post Intelligencer, October 12, 2000
• Vancouver Sun, September 6, 2000
• Associated press, December 1998
• KCTS Fox Television News, March 1999
• The Longview Daily News, November 10, 2002
• The Kenai Peninsula News, April 2002
• The Seattle Irish Club Newsletter, March 2002
• IDEBATE, Journal of the International Debate Educational Association, January 2003
• KOMO Television News, October 11, 2000
• KOMO television, March 12 and 16, 2004
• KCIS radio, March 12, 2004
• KIRO television, March 12, 2004
• KGOV Kirkland Cable television, September 30, 2005 and repeated weekly for four months
• KGOV Kirkland Cable television, January 31, 2006 now streaming
• KCTV Redmond City television, January 5, 2007
• KGOV Kirkland Cable television, January 5, 2007
• KGOV Kirkland Cable television, April 9, 2008
• KGOV Kirkland Cable television, September 26, 2008
• KGOV Kirkland Cable television, February 3, 2010
•  World Debate Website, April 2008

Professional Organizations
• Pi Kappa Delta Speech and Debate Honor Society
• Member of the Western States Communication Association
• Northwest Forensics Conference

Sample of Student Speeches and Papers
Stratagem Journal: Collection of Best Speeches and Papers turned into Professor Gary Gillespie. Sample of student work and some articles by Gillespie. Papers and Links by Gillespie

Web Presence
• Top Google searched Gary Gillespie in the world.
• He created NU’s first student activity web page when the Eagle Debate page was posted in 1999.
• He also posted the first web page for any major at Northwest the spring of 2003 – the Communication Major web page.
• Gillespie posted a web page featuring student work called the Stratagem: Anthology of Communication Studies, first launched in May of 2002. This page features best speeches and papers of students.
• He designed the Eagle Debate Research page and the World Debate Research page with extensive links to sources for student research.
• His fitness page encourages students to be healthy.
• Designed, serves as travel director for Anthropology of Northwest Native Peoples, a travel course to Canada to study first nations art and culture. This popular class has been offered six times.

Debate Coaching Achievements
• Gillespie has second longest tenure of all debate coaches in the five northwest states.
• He received the Northwest Forensics Association Educator of the Year award in 2005.
Recent Debate Team wins here
• Second Place World Style Debate, Pi Kappa Delta Tournament of the Great West, March 2010.
• Four students students attend tournaments at Oxford and Cambridge Universities in November, 2010.
• Fourth Place Oregon State University World Style Debate, February 14, 2009
• Fourth Place Hawaii Pacific University Pan Pacific Championships, October 18, 2008
• Second place at end of the tournament at Mt Hood College April 2007. Only institution with two teams in final four.
•  Seven students attend international tournaments at Oxford and Cambridge Universities and the World Championships at the University of British Columbia in November and December, 2006.
• The Northwest debate team ranks in the top 13 percent of the nation in 2004 among the 357 colleges and universities in the National Parliamentary Debate Association.
• The Eagle Debate team made final rounds at NPDA national tournament from 1996 to 2006.
• 2006 Team captain Jordan Goddard Harvard Law School graduate.
• 2004 Team captain Jon King was ranked as the 15th best speaker out of 624 at the 2004 national tournament.
• 2002 Team captain Josh Brittingham UCLA Law School graduate.
• The team placed tenth in the nation in 2000.

2005 — 2006 Debate Year in Review
2006 — 2007 Debate Year in Review
2008 Gillespie Professional Development Report
2009 — 2010 Debate Year in Review
More Debate Achievements

International and Public Debates 
Professor Gillespie organized the following public debates held before audiences of 50 to 150. Most are covered by the local media.
•  Chinese National Debate Team, April 2011 for debates on campus and at the Microsoft PAC.
•  Yale University Debate Team, April 2012 for debates on campus and at Seattle University.
•  Harvard University Debate Team, January 2011 for debates on campus and at the Microsoft PAC.
•  Chinese National Debate Team, April 2010 for debates on campus and at the Microsoft PAC.
• Irish National Debate Team for debates at the Kirkland City Hall, Microsoft PAC and on campus. April 9, 2008
• Public debate with Portland State and Seattle University, September 26, 2008
• Alumni Debate on Creationism in the schools with guest speaker form the Discovery Institute April 14, 2007 on campus.
•  Oxford University Student body president and chair of the Oxford Debating Society for three debates at the Redmond and Kirkland City Halls and the Microsoft PAC January 4 and 5, 2007.
•  British National Debating Team vs. Northwest University, September 20, 2004. Topics included the election and the war in Iraq.
•  Chapel Debates. Almost each year the Eagle Debate team presented public debates on for the student body. Topics included the presidential election, capital punishment (twice), cloning, effects of television, and American Exceptionalism,  the Harry Potter books.
•  Program wins a $750 grant from the International Debate Education Association for a chapel debate on international aspects of the presidential election in September of 2004.
• Puget Sound Home School Debate League district tournament, November 29, 2003. Thirty students from the area gathered for six rounds of debate on the topic of US policy concerning protectorate nations.
• Alumni vs. Students debate, September 11, 2003. Topic: “The USA Patriot Act has gone too far.”
• Irish National Debate Team vs. Northwest, April 2, 2003. Topic: “Forget France.”
• University of British Columbia Debating Society vs. Northwest College, September 19, 2002. Topic: “This house would hold food manufacturers responsible for the obesity epidemic.”
• Puget Sound Home-school Debate League regional tournament on December 2, 2001. 70 high school students took part and our students judged. The topic for the debates throughout the day was agricultural policy.
• University of British Columbia Debating Society vs. Northwest College, September 14, 2000. Topic: This house would make British Columbia part of the United States.
• British National Debating Team vs. Northwest College, November 4, 1999. Topic: This house would admit China into the World Trade Organization.

Successful Students and Graduates
 Gideon Copple, (NU graduate May 2006) is now a Junior Staff for the Council on Foreign Relations in New York City. He formerly served as intern with the United Nations Association Internship program, a highly competitive position normally reserved for law school students or graduates from well known universities. The internship is with the American NGO Coalition for the International Criminal Court (AMICC), an organization under the auspices of the United Nations Association of the United States (UNA-USA). More at AMICC’s website

• Jordan Goddard, debate team captain 2004 — 2005, graduated from Harvard University Law School the fall of 2008 and now practices law for the Social Security Administration in Seattle.

Jordan scored in the top two percent on the LSAT law school admissions test.  He joins another Northwest alumnus Josh Davies who is in his third year at Harvard Law School. Jordan serves as President of the Eagle Debate Alumni Association. More here.

Josh Brittingham, a 2000 graduate, was elected debate team captain. He was selected to be the student commencement speaker. He applied and was accepted to attend Notre Dame Law School and UCLA Law School and attributes much of his success to skills learned as a debate.  He now practices law in Seattle.

• Roger Altizer, a 1997 graduate, spent three years teaching English with the JET program in Japan, then applied and was accepted in doctoral program in Communication at the University of Utah the fall of 2003. Roger was our top debater for two years. Roger completed his Master’s program where he served as an assistant debate coach.  He is now pursuing a PhD at the University of Utah and is a nationally known expert in internet communication and video games.

More Former Students

Gillespie lives near campus with his wife Teresa R. W. Gillespie, an attorney and Dean of the Northwest University College of Business. Interests include gardening, fitness, hiking, fishing, art, and creative writing.