In the four days since it turned up on YouTube, Georgia Tech sophomore Nick Selby’s “epic welcome speech” became an Internet sensation and reached more than 1 million views.
But today, it created headlines of a more negative sort, after allegations that Selby’s oratory at Freshman Convocation had been plagiarized from one of his high school speech coaches, Andy Scott.
Selby’s speech does mirror one given by Scott in 2008 in that they both use music from “2001: A Space Odyssey.” But Scott says any accusations of plagiarism are false.
“He contacted me three months ago when he had the chance to audition for this speech, and he asked me if he could use the same song and a similar idea,” Scott said. “He asked to borrow the idea, and I agreed.”
Selby’s speech followed a similar structure to his former mentor’s, but Scott says the content was largely the college sophomore’s own work that was ”just inspired by mine.” Scott adds that he was very proud to see Selby’s speech getting national attention.
Erik Dominguez, another coach who knew Selby from Desert Vista High School’s Speech, Theater and Debate Company, also had praise for the engineering student.
“What you see in that speech is exactly who he is,” Dominguez says. “Incredibly charismatic, energetic, very intelligent, and always fun to be around.”