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This prize was originally established through an 1854 gift from Hon. Aaron Clark, former mayor of New York City. According to a contemporaneous New York Times article, “Mr. CLARK received his academic education at Clinton, and has not forgotten the friends and benefactors of his youth.” He was awarded an honorary degree from Hamilton in 1838.  It was later reestablished in 1892 through a gift from the Fayerweather estate and supplemented with an award from Henry A. Clark.
 
The 2022 winner will take home $2,000 and will be recognized at the Class and Charter Day ceremony.

Eligibility

The Clark Prize is open to all senior students in all disciplines. 

Requirements

The Clark competition requires a speech that addresses the assigned topic. The prize will be awarded to the senior who, through both content and delivery, most effectively addresses the assigned topic. 2022's topic was "What lesson(s) should we learn from the COVID-19 pandemic?"

Preliminary Round

In 2022, students competed in the preliminary round by recording their speeches. Scoring criteria are listed below.

All recordings must be a single take. That is, you may not splice together different recordings to make one complete speech.

Final Round

Each final round competitor will submit a detailed outline or manuscript of the final speech. Each final round competitor will present a six to eight minute speech. Speeches should not be read from a script. Scoring for the final round will be based on the same criteria as the preliminary round, with 10% reserved for evaluation of the content based on the submitted materials.


Scoring

The judges will assign scores on two broad areas: content/organization and delivery. 

CONTENT AND ORGANIZATION
  • Content is relevant to speech prompt and maintains a focus appropriate for the audience (Hamilton community).
  • Clear organization was followed consistently throughout the speech.
  • Speech consistently used evidence that was appropriate for the topic (e.g., narrative, statistics) and was cited as appropriate.
  • Language use was appropriate for audience (e.g., avoided jargon) and occasion.
  • Logical connections were clearly made between ideas within the speech.
DELIVERY
  • Speaker’s use of vocal qualities (volume, pitch, emphasis) enhanced the presentation.
  • Nonverbal behaviors (gestures and eye contact) enhanced the presentation.
  • Speaker was fluent (e.g., avoided fillers such as “um”) and conversational.
OVERALL IMPRESSION
  • The speaker was engaging throughout the presentation.
  • The overall presentation was consistently persuasive.

Recent winners

2o22
Cherry Zhang '22, "How Productive Should I Be? Reflections on the Meanings of Work" | video
2021

Lily Delle-Levine '21, "Time for Change: Social Media as Social Action" | video

2020

Haotian Yang '20, "Getting Out There: Make Diversity Happen" | video

2019

Emily Aviles '19, "The True Price of Higher Education" | video

2018

Ryan Bloom '18, “Don’t Follow the Yellow Brick Road: A Defense of the Open Curriculum” | video

2017

Jake Blount '17, "Modern Conservatives and the Myth of Campus Censorship" | video

Contact

Office / Department Name

Oral Communication Center

Contact Name

Amy Gaffney

Oral Communication Center Director

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