Dartmouth Students Compete in Historic Speech Contest

The Institute for Writing and Rhetoric is pleased to announce that the Benjamin F. Barge and Class of 1866 Prizes for Oratory speech contest was held on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, at 4:30 pm in the Treasure Room (Baker Library). A reception and award presentation followed in the Ferguson Room (Baker Library Room 206).

 Eight Dartmouth students presented original persuasive speeches to a public audience and a panel of judges. At the conclusion of the event, Balt von Huene ‘19 was awarded the Benjamin F. Barge Prize for Oratory for his speech, “Lust of Possession.” Peter Charalambous ’20 received one of the Class of 1866 Prizes for Oratory for his speech, “Counteracting the Negative State of News,” and William Synnott ’21 was awarded a Class of 1866 Prize for Oratory after delivering his speech, titled, “The Costs of Criminalizing.”

 The Benjamin F. Barge Prize for Oratory was established by Benjamin F. Barge (1832-1902) in 1901 and is awarded to a senior. The Class of 1866 Prizes for Oratory were established in 1905 by Waldemer Otis and Dr. James A. Spaulding, both members of the Class of 1866, and are awarded to a sophomore and a junior. The Benjamin F. Barge Prize for Oratory and the Class of 1866 Prizes for Oratory are sponsored by the Benjamin F. Barge Fund and the Class of 1866 Fund, respectively.

Students competing in the 2019 contest included:

  • Osman Khan ’21; Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan; Major: Mathematical Data Science, minor in Government
  • William Synnott ’21; Hometown: Jackson, New Hampshire; Major: Sociology
  • Peter Charalambous '20; Hometown: Garden City South, New York; Major: Government, minor in Public Policy
  • Rebecca Luo ’20; Hometown: Madison, Connecticut; Major: Biology
  • Matthew Rube ’19; Hometown: Harrison, New York; Major: Psychology
  • David Jelke ’19; Hometown: Miami, Florida; Major: Neuroscience, Pre-Health
  • Kenneth Y. Zhu ’19; Hometown: Houston, Texas; Major: Biology
  • Balt von Huene ’19; Hometown: Arrowsic, Maine; Major: Environmental Studies, minor in English

This year’s judging panel included:

  • Paul B. Klaas '74: Principal, North Coast Arbitration Chambers, Minneapolis; Arbitrator Member, Maitland Chambers, London; Adjunct Professor of Law, University of Minnesota Law School
  • Adedoyin Ogunfeyimi: Senior Lecturer of Writing, Institute for Writing and Rhetoric, Dartmouth College
  • Hon. Mary Miles Teachout: Vermont Superior Court Judge

This year we also had two former presidential speechwriters in attendance, Peter M. Robinson ‘79 and David Cavell. Robinson and Cavell, who wrote for former presidents Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, respectively, were special guests for this year's "Art of Presidential Speechwriting" event, hosted by the Institute for Writing and Rhetoric.

The contest was organized by Josh Compton, Associate Professor of Speech; Darlene Drummond, Assistant Professor of Speech; and Svetlana Grushina, Senior Lecturer in Speech.

“Speech is a historic academic discipline—and especially, here at Dartmouth,” Compton said. “This contest is a great example of how we celebrate speech—creating this special forum for student voices to address some of the world’s most pressing problems. Hearing our students' thoughtful takes on the challenges we face encourages me—and reminds me once again of how important it is to study, research, teach, and learn speech.” 

For more information about the contest, contact:

Josh Compton, Associate Professor of Speech, Dartmouth College

[email protected], 603-646-9842