Mike Edmonds Says Goodbye to CC with Last Class

Many college students say that public speaking is usually not easy nor fun, but those students clearly didn’t take Block 8 Business Communications with Mike Edmonds, which had a 33-person enrollment — one of the largest classes on campus.

After over 30 years at Colorado College, Senior Vice President Edmonds has done it all. From serving as dean of students and vice president of Student Life, to acting co-president from 2020 to 2021, Edmonds has left a lasting impact on the entire campus community. This might explain why Edmonds’ final block on campus was as popular as it was.

“Mike Edmonds is the reason this class is amazing,” says Sasha Akinchina ’25, a business, economics, and society major. “He brings this element of authentic joy, encouragement, and purpose to the classroom, which simply cannot be replicated. I came to class excited about giving speeches and learning new ways I can innovate my work because of him.”

Hunton Russell ’23, a business, economics, and society major, says that taking a class with Edmonds was amazing because Edmonds has so much experience and knowledge to share with students.

“He is a powerful public speaker who is preparing the next generation, us, to go off and make change confidently,” says Russell, who took the class because he is going into finance and wants to improve his public speaking and presenting skills. “I think it’s possible for this class to be taught by somebody else, but it wouldn’t be the same experience.”

Leo Magnus ’25 agrees that it will be difficult for the next professor who teaches this class to leave the same impact on students that Edmonds has.

“His ability to keep the class engaged while simultaneously teaching valuable lessons is what makes this class so enjoyable. I don’t think there is anyone else who can teach this class as effectively as Dean Edmonds,” says Magnus, a business, economics, and society major.

Magnus’ favorite part of the class was the rap assignment, where students were tasked with creating a two-minute rap to both talk through and perform in front of the class to practice public speaking.

“In this class I learned the ability to overcome performance anxiety to effectively give a speech,” says Magnus, who added that he took the class to gain as much knowledge as possible from Edmonds, as he is “incredible in his field.”

Akinchina’s favorite part of the class was also the rap assignment. “It brought all of us out of our comfort zones and strengthened our bond as a class,” says Akinchina. “Since speaking my rap, my confidence both in myself and in my presence has grown.”

Russell’s favorite part of the class was getting to practice public speaking in front of his peers on topics he wouldn’t normally speak about. He knows the feedback from Edmonds and his peers have already helped him become a better speaker.

“I took this class because I had heard it was a ‘must-take,’ and I wanted the opportunity to learn from Mike Edmonds directly,” says Ferris Berg ’23, a political science major. “I'm grateful that I was able to take the final class with a man as important to Colorado College as Mike Edmonds. If this class were taught by anybody else, it would be a completely different experience.”

Berg learned the importance of using repetition to drive his points across while giving a speech, as well as the importance of truly knowing his material when speaking in order to come across as authentic and credible.

There were 33 students in the class, which originally had a 16-person waitlist. Berg theorizes that the class is so popular because of the general love of this type of class, but, primarily, because of the influence that Edmonds has among both the CC and the greater Colorado Springs communities.

Like her classmates, Akinchina also believes the class is so popular because of Edmonds himself.

“Everyone wants to take this class because of the great things they have heard about the professor and the speech practice you receive,” she says.

George Schlesinger ’23, an economics major, completely agrees, adding that Edmonds is honest and really wants everyone’s public speaking to improve.

“Mike Edmonds is an amazing person; I think people take the class for the experience,” says Schlesinger, who took the class both because Edmonds was teaching it and because he thinks public speaking is an important skill that he wanted to work on. “Taking the class with Mike was awesome,” says Schlesinger. “He is a big personality and likes to keep things light.”

One of Schlesinger’s favorite parts of the class was how all the students got to push themselves outside of their comfort zones together.

For years Cole Rabschnuk ’23, an environmental studies major, had heard how popular this class was, due to both the utility of the class and the engaging nature of the professor, so when he had the opportunity to take it, he jumped at the chance. Rabschnuk’s favorite part of the class was being able to practice his speaking skills and get genuine feedback from Edmonds.

“I definitely learned to work on my tempo and not include word-dense slides in my presentations,” says Rabschnuk. “I appreciate [Edmonds’] useful feedback and ability to work with every student and work to their abilities. If this class was taught by someone else, he or she may not be as honest with students or have the ability to work with everyone in the same manner.”

While Jake Smith ’23, an economics major and environmental studies minor, had never taken a class with Edmonds before, the two knew each other as Edmonds had hosted Smith’s lacrosse team for dinner every year.

“Mike continues to demonstrate his passion for building relationships and his expertise in public speaking and business communication,” says Smith.

"Teaching this final class was a fitting and personally very meaningful way to end my time here at Colorado College,” says Edmonds, who first joined CC in 1991. “It was an honor and a privilege to share my knowledge with these students and I know they will go far in everything they choose to do."

Edmonds’ legacy on campus will forever be cherished and it is clear that his students will keep the lessons they learned from him in the future.

Report an issue - Last updated: 05/30/2023