Six students were awarded prizes in three categories in the annual Public Speaking Competition on Saturday, March 3, 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 2018 McKinney Prize recipients and their topics are:

  • Class of 2018: Conor O'Shea, “Standing for Something: Reinvigorating Student Advocacy on Hamilton's Honor Court”
  • Class of 2019: Emily Aviles, “A Crash Course in Psychological Self Defense” 
  • Class of 2020: Federico Pollevick, “Pub Power as Tool for Free Speech”
  • Class of 2021: Honor Allen, “Waving (then Dropping then Tripping Over) the White Flag: A Surrender to Awkwardness”

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. This year’s topic was “The Open Curriculum: An Education Disservice or an Ideal Approach.” The 2018 Clark Prize recipient is Ryan Bloom ’18, whose winning presentation was titled “Don't Follow the Yellow Brick Road: A Defense of the Open Curriculum.”

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.  

Noam Barnhard ’18 won the Warren Wright Prize with his speech “Now I Know My ABCs.”

Winners will be awarded more than $12,000 in prizes on Class and Charter Day.

The Oral Communication Center organized the Public Speaking Competition.

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