Arthur Feinstein 1955 Memorial Fund First Year Excellence in Writing Award

The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric announced a new award in May 2014 for first-year writing in addition to the Dickerson Prize we have been offering for years. The First Year Excellence in Writing Award, made possible by the Arthur Feinstein 1955 Memorial Fund, is for "the best piece of writing by a first-year student in one of the first-year writing courses." 

This award does not require a faculty nomination (unlike the Institute’s Dickerson Prize). Students may apply directly and more than one student from any course can apply, but only one essay per student, please.

Deadline: TBA

How to apply:
Submit your best essay written in a first-year writing course in the current academic year (Writing 2-3, Writing 5, Humanities 1-2, or First-year Seminar).

What to submit:

  • a cover note that confirms the essay was written for a first-year writing course and has not been revised or rewritten outside of the course; provides contact information; and confirms your status as a first-year student, and
  • a clean ungraded copy of the essay.

Send submissions to: [email protected]

Writing Prizes

The Albert I. Dickerson 1930 Freshman Writing Prize

Albert I. Dickerson, for many years Dean of Freshmen, took great interest in first-year composition. In his memory, a prize has been established which will be awarded annually to that student who writes an outstanding expository essay in a First-Year Seminar/Humanities 2, or in a Writing 5/Humanities 1 class, or in a Writing 2-3 class, as decided by a volunteer committee of Writing faculty from across the first-year courses.

Each instructor should make a preliminary selection of the best essay written in his or her class each term. Nominations are limited to 1 per class. The instructor is permitted to make constructive criticism of the essay and the student is permitted to revise it before the sponsoring faculty member submits it for the competition to the Director of the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric. The instructor will obtain the agreement of the student before submitting a selected essay. The instructor should include a nomination cover letter when submitting the student’s paper.

The deadline for Dickerson Prize nominations and final submissions of the essays is two weeks after the deadline for submission of final grades for the term during which the essay was written. The deadline for essays from Writing 2 or Writing 3 is two weeks after the deadline for submission of final grades for the winter term.

The competition entries will be judged by the prize committee after the completion of the spring term each year.

Nominations for the prizes should be sent to [email protected].

Speech Contests

Benjamin F. Barge Prize for Oratory

The Benjamin F. Barge Prize for Oratory was established by Benjamin F. Barge (1832-1902) in 1901 and continued until 2004. After a six-year hiatus, the Institute for Writing & Rhetoric re-launched the Benjamin F. Barge Prize for Oratory in Spring 2010. The award is presented to a member of the senior class who is determined by a panel of three judges to "write and pronounce in public an English oration in the best manner." Judges are instructed to consider content and delivery equally when determining the winner of the contest. One senior student is named the winner and receives a medal and a cash award.

The speech contest call for entries is posted on our website at this link.

Speech Contests

Class of 1866 Prizes for Oratory

These prizes were established in 1905 by Waldemer Otis and Dr. James A. Spaulding, both members of the Class of 1866, and continued until 2004. There are two prizes, one to a junior and one to a sophomore, to be awarded "for excellence in original orations." Winners receive a medal and a cash award. The Institute re-launched the Class of 1866 Prizes for Oratory by awarding them in the May 19, 2011 speech contest.

The speech contest call for entries is posted on our website at this link.