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The Warren Wright Prize

Established in honor of Warren E. Wright, the Upson Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory at Hamilton from 1977 to 1993, this speaking prize was first awarded in 1993.

Open to all full-time students who have taken the public speaking course, Genres of Oral Communication. In order to have a competition there must be at least four contestants for the preliminary round. 


This competition requires an informative speech rather than a persuasive speech. That is, the purpose of the speech should be to enlighten rather than to advocate. The topic should have relevance and interest for a Hamilton College audience and should be presented in a manner appropriate for the occasion and setting. The speech should not be read from a script.

A typed outline — not an essay or complete script — including bibliography, must be submitted to pubspeak@hamilton.edu in advance of the preliminary round.

final round

Competitors present a six to eight minute informative speech. Following the presentation of the speech, each competitor is asked no more than two questions. Competitors have up to two minutes to respond to each question. Judges will assign a score based on each competitor's presentation and response to the posed questions. The competitor receiving the highest total score will be determined to be the Warren Wright Prize recipient.


Competitors will be evaluated on the following components: 


  • Topic and specific focus were 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.


  • 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

  • To what extent was the speaker informative? That is, did the speaker provide you with clear information about a topic without trying to persuade you to agree or take action?
  • Was the speaker poised in responding to questions?


$8,000. The Warren Wright winner will be recognized at the Class and Charter Day ceremony.

Contact Information

Amy Gaffney

Oral Communication Center Director
Kirner-Johnson 222
315-859-4401 oralcomm@hamilton.edu


Aug 26 – Dec 13

S 3 p.m. – 10 p.m.

M 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

T 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

W 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

T 12 p.m. – 10 p.m.

F 12 p.m. – 3 p.m.

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