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From left Jeremy Mathurin ’16, Jake Blount ’17, Conor O’Shea ’18, Jonathan Kirshenbaum ’19, Michael Nelson ’16.
PHOTO: MIKE VEROSTEK ’16

More than $11,000 in cash prizes were awarded during the 2016 Public Speaking Competition

Five students were awarded prizes in three categories in the annual Public Speaking Competition on Saturday, March 5, in the Chapel. The finalists were chosen after an open preliminary round held in February. Speakers’ presentations were either persuasive or informative in nature, and in one category students were asked to address an assigned topic.


The McKinney Prize

The McKinney Prize is awarded to one student from each class for a 5-8 minute persuasive speech that is socially relevant and of interest to the extended Hamilton College community.

  • Class of 2016: Jeremy Mathurin, “The Problem We All Live With.”
  • Class of 2017: Jake Blount, “Continuing Our Founder’s Commitment to the First Peoples.”  
  • Class of 2018: Conor O’Shea, “What’s in a Paycheck Anyway? The Value of Public Service.”
  • Class of 2019: Jonathan Kirshenbaum, “Social Media May Solve this Crime. But Will It?”

The Clark Prize

The Clark Prize competition is open to all members of the senior class and calls for participants to address an assigned topic through both written and oral presentations.

  • Michael Nelson ’16, “Modern Optimism’s a Farce — So Let’s Change it.”

The Warren E. Wright Prize

The Warren Wright Prize in informative speaking is open to those students who have enrolled in the college’s public speaking course. Participants also respond to questions from the audience, and their responses are included in the judges’ evaluations.

  • Michael Nelson ’16, “Making Friends When We’re all Sad and Awkward.”

Judges for the competition were Chad Graves ’84, P’16; Melissa (Howe) Graves ’85, P’16; Lisabeth “Betsy” Bitner ’83, P’14; Mitchell Radin ’76;  Susan (McGuirk) Blank ’77; Director of Alumni Relations Sharon Rippey; and Director of Annual Giving Fred Rogers.

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