Dartmouth Students Compete in Historic Speech Contest

Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH – May 24, 2018


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 Thursday, May 24, 2018, at 4:30 pm in the Treasure Room (Baker Library). A reception and award presentation followed in the Ferguson Room (Baker Library Room 206).
Seven Dartmouth students presented original persuasive speeches to a public audience and a panel of judges. At the conclusion of the event, Carolyn Strauch ‘18 was awarded the Benjamin F. Barge Prize for Oratory, and Azhar Hussain ‘19 and Sofia Franco ‘20 each received Class of 1866 Prizes for Oratory.
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 2018 contest included:

  • Sofia Franco ‘20; Hometown: Woodbridge Township, New Jersey; Major: Government
  • Michelle Wu ‘20; Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland; Major: Economics
  • Azhar Hussain ’19; Hometown: Dallas, Texas; Majors: Computer Science; Economics
  • Samuel Ching ‘19; Hometown: Singapore; Majors: Computer Science; Mathematics
  • Rafananda Tejada ‘18; Hometown: Bronx, New York; Major: Engineering Sciences; Portuguese Minor
  • Heeruk C. Bhatt ‘18; Hometown: Little Falls, New Jersey; Major: Biology
  • Carolyn Strauch ‘18; Hometown: Scarsdale, New York; Major: Biology

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, Mary Kate Cary and Stephen Krupin. Cary and Krupin, who wrote for former presidents George H. W. Bush 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. 

“This contest is one of our favorite events of the year,” Compton said. “It’s a chance for students to engage in public dialogue about important issues, to show how speech can advance potential solutions to problems. What an exciting time to be studying, doing, theorizing, and teaching speech at Dartmouth!”

A program listing speech titles and more information can be found online at: 

For more information about the contest, contact:
Josh Compton, Associate Professor of Speech, Dartmouth College
joshua.compton@dartmouth.edu, 603-646-9842