Five students were awarded prizes in three categories in the annual Public Speaking Competition on Saturday, March 4, 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 addressed an assigned topic.

In the McKinney Prize competition, a 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.

The 2017 McKinney Prize recipients and their topics are:

  • Class of 2017: John McGonigle, “Why A Story is the Secret to Good Conversation”
    (see video)
  • Class of 2018: Conor O’Shea, “Hamilton, We Need to Talk: Due Process and Title IX”
    (see video)
  • Class of 2019: Michael Wang, “Good Willed Hunting”
    (see video)
  • Class of 2020: Taomi Kenny, “Trigger Warnings: Freedom of Speech and Hamilton Values”
    (see video)

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. The 2017 Clark Prize recipient is Jake Blount ’17, whose winning presentation was titled “Modern Conservatives and the Myth of Campus Censorship” (see video).

The final prize category, 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.  

Jake Blount ’17 also won the Warren Wright Prize. His topic was “America’s First Music: An Introduction to Appalachian Old-Time” (see video). 

Winners will be awarded more than $11,000 in prizes on Class and Charter Day.

The Oral Communication Center organized the Public Speaking Competition.

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