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MSU Remembers Holt V. Spicer, “Spike”

Shawn Wahl
Missouri State University

Holt V. Spicer, or “Spike,” as he was affectionately known in his community, passed away on March 6, 2019. He was an influential professor at Missouri State University, pioneering the Speech and Debate program as well as the College of Arts and Letters.

KSMU spoke to the current Dean of the College of Arts and Letters, Dr. Shawn Wahl.

“Holt Spicer is a true leader and has a legacy for our Debate Program.”

Spicer served as a department head as well as a dean at MSU, and came out of “debate retirement” as Wahl said to coach Speech and Debate at MSU. The Spicer Debate Forum is named in his honor.

“He touched the lives of so many people, and the reason that the forum is named after is because he’s the primary architect and is part of the rich history of the Spicer Debate Forum.”

Spicer and his team won the National Debate Tournament for Redlands in 1951 and 1952. He was hand selected by Virginia Craig upon her retirement to take over the program in 1952 until 1965, and he continued to travel with debate before returning to coaching and winning the National Championship in 1992.

Wahl adds that many alumni have already reached out to him on Spicer’s passing, including former professors and students. Last spring the University celebrated his 90th birthday with many of these former students from all over the country.

Holt Spicer was 91 years old. Cards can be sent to the MSU Communications Office at:

Department of Communication, Craig 375

901 S. National Ave

Springfield, MO 65897