Since it was uploaded to YouTube three days ago, Georgia Tech sophomore Nick Selby's "epic welcome speech" at this year's Freshman Convocation has gone on to rack up over 1 million views, and score rave reviews on many major news networks and websites including Gawker.
Want to Watch Georgia Tech's 'Epic Welcome Speech'? You Can Do That
Nick Selby, Mechanical Engineering Class of '15, delivers an "epic welcome speech"…
But, as with all good things, this too must come with a catch.
It seems Selby's over-the-top oratory to incoming students was lifted almost wholesale from a speech given by Arizona State University debate team champ Andy Stone in 2008 (skip to the 8:40 mark in the video above, and compare with the video below).
Some Internet sleuthing reveals that, back in 2006, Stone became Assistant Coach of the Speech, Theater and Debate Company at Desert Vista High School, which just so happened to count Selby as a member until his graduation last year.
Did Selby straight-up rip off a speech given by his former debate coach, and pass it off as his own? It would seem so.
An unverified Reddit account claiming to belong to the "Georgia Tech Social Media team" confirmed in a Georgia Tech subreddit thread questioning Selby's originality that the speech was indeed "inspired" by Stone, but insists that Selby "made no secret" of the source.
The Georgia Tech account goes on to claims that Selby even went so far as to call Stone and ask him for permission to use his speech.
Some Redditors were willing to cut Selby some slack either way, saying he probably didn't set out to go viral, but at least one noted that this revelation means that the speech is now "a slightly bit less epic."
UPDATE: A George Tech media relations rep just tweeted at me to reiterate the claim that Selby asked permission from Stone before helping himself to the speech. According to the rep, Selby will come clean in a Fox News interview this afternoon.
UPDATE 2: Selby addressed the "inspiration" for his speech on his personal Facebook page.
Georgia Tech student's 'epic' speech to incoming freshman was PLAGIARIZED from his high school debate coach
- Nick Selby, a student at Georgia Tech, lifted part of the speech from his high school debate coach, Andy Stone, who gave a similar address in 2008 that available on YouTube
- Selby's speech has garnered one million YouTube views
- Selby says he asked Stone for permission to lift parts of his speech
By Daily Mail Reporter
Published: 23:57 GMT, 22 August 2013 | Updated: 00:03 GMT, 23 August 2013
A speech to incoming college freshmen that was hailed by major news networks as the most 'epic' of all time was apparently partially plagiarized.
Nick Selby, a student at Georgia Tech, lifted part of the speech from his high school debate coach, Andy Stone, who gave a similar address in 2008 that is available on YouTube, Gawkerreported.
Like Stone, Selby used theme music from '2001: A Space Odyssey' to punctuate the climax of his speech and he used similar phrasing, though the speeches were about two different subjects.
Scroll down for video...
Starts slow: Georgia Tech sophomore Nick Selby's freshman welcome speech began with typical advice then became an unforgettable address like none other
'If you want to play theme music during your [speech], that's allowed! I can do that! I am doing that!' Stone shouts during his 2008 speech, in which he encouraged students to 'rescue' science fiction.
Similarly, Selby said in his speech to Georgia Tech freshmen: 'If you want to play theme music during your convocation speech like a badaas, you can do that! You're at Georgia Tech! I am doing that!'
Selby claims that he asked Stone's permission to lift those phrases from his speech. Selby was a member of the Speech, Theater and Debate Company at Desert Vista High School and records show Stone became an assistant coach of the club in 2006.
The rest of Selby's speech seems largely uninfluenced by Stone.
He encourages freshmen ‘to do the impossible' and 'crush the shoulders of the giants upon whom we stand.'
‘Our mission as students is NOT to follow in the footsteps of the astronauts, Nobel Prize Laureates, and president who graduated before us, but to EXCEED their footsteps,’ bellowed the mechanical engineering student.
Youtube footage of the address garnered one million views a couple days after it was posted by user Andy Blanton.
‘If you want to change the world, you're at Georgia Tech, you can do that! If you want to build the Iron Man suit, you're at Georgia Tech—you can do that! If you want to play theme music during your convocation speech like a badass, we're at Georgia Tech—we can do that,’ he screamed. ‘I AM DOING THAT!’
With that bit of self-reference, Selby’s opus was nearly complete.
The incoming freshman, all of them donning the school’s traditional yellow beanie, gave a brief and slightly confused ovation.
'Congratulations,' he smirked before marching off the stage. 'Brace yourselves for a hell of a ride on your way to becoming a hell of an engineer.'
Case in point: 'If you wanna play theme music during your convocation speech like a badass, we're at Georgia Tech! We can do that! I AM DOING THAT!'
Applause: The yellow beanie-wearing crowd of future engineers first gave confused, nervous applause, but eventually gave Selby the standing ovation he deserved
Selby’s popularity has quickly skyrocketed since his speech hit Youtube.
He’s even a caught the eye of some female fans who see great potential in the humorous and brainy sophomore.
A contributor to the blog The Frisky even wrote Selby an open love letter.
Sorry ladies: The aspiring mechanical engineer has a girlfriend and the two appear quite cozy in Facebook photos
‘Dear Nick,’ writes Julie Gerstein. ‘your speech was so powerful…that I now feel prepared to take on a new challenge: making you my boyfriend so hard.’
‘I would like to stand on some giant shoulders with you,’ she went on. ‘Is that cool?’
Selby’s fandom has spread beyond bloggers, as well.
Even ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer has confessed an appreciation for the future engineer.
However, the instant celebrity appears to have a serious girlfriend.
‘Diane Sawyer just gave Nick a shout out, so I feel inadequate’ tweeted Katie Giel, who appears on both his Facebook page and her own looking quite cozy with Selby. ‘I feel like I'm dating a celebrity.’
Protective: 'I can't read these YouTube comments. I'm way too defensive of Nick,' Giel tweeted
Insecure? 'Diane Sawyer just gave Nick a shout out, so I feel inadequate' Giel joked on Twitter as her boyfriend's internet celebrity ballooned Tuesday
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