Dartmouth Students Compete in Historic and New Speech Contests

Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH — May 17, 2022

Speech at Dartmouth is pleased to announce that the Benjamin F. Barge, the Class of 1866, and the Speech at Dartmouth Prize for Oratory contests were held on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, at 4:30 pm on Wheeler Lawn. A reception and award presentation followed student speeches.

Ten Dartmouth students presented original persuasive speeches to a public audience and a panel of judges. At the conclusion of the event, Awo Adu '22 earned the Benjamin F. Barge Prize for Oratory, Michael Carlowicz '22 received the Class of 1866 Prize for Oratory, and John Ejiogu '23 and Federico Cigolot '24 won Speech at Dartmouth Prizes for Oratory.

The contest was organized by Josh Compton, Professor of Speech; Darlene Drummond, Associate 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. After two years of putting the contest on hold, 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."

Topics varied widely, but in her winning speech, Adu '22 documented the origins and the effects of the scourge of colorism. Adu touched on a lengthy history of historical oppression and the absence of legal precedence to survey the issue. She encouraged the audience, "the first step in combatting the sickness that is colorism is to raise awareness. It is to have the courage to interrogate the ways in which your existence is predicated on the erasure of others. It is to forfeit the very privileges you were taught that you could not live without."


The Benjamin F. Barge Prize for Oratory

The Benjamin F. Barge Prize for Oratory was established by Benjamin F. Barge (1832-1902) in 1901. 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 will be named the winner and will receive a medal and a cash award.

The Class of 1866 Prizes for Oratory

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. This year, one prize will be awarded "for excellence in original orations" to the senior contestant delivering the second highest ranked speech. The winner will receive a certificate, a commemorative book, and a cash award.

The Speech at Dartmouth Prizes for Oratory

The Speech at Dartmouth Prize for Oratory was established in 2020 by the Speech faculty and may be awarded to one junior and one sophomore annually. The award is supported by the Gerald D. Kleinman '55 Memorial Fund. The Fund supports activities that develop and strengthen students' writing, speaking, and critical thinking abilities. Winners receive a certificate and a cash award.


Students competing in the 2022 contest included:

  • Kailah Hester '24; Hometown: Chicago, Illinois; Major: Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies modified with African & African American Studies, Human-Centered Design minor
  • Thomas Lane '24; Hometown: Minnetonka, Minnesota; Major: Economics and German
  • Federico Cigolot '24; Hometown: Udine, Italy; Major: Economics, International Studies minor
  • Alex Wojcik '23; Hometown: Hopkinton, Massachusetts; Major: Quantitative Social Science
  • Nick Mancini '23; Hometown: Parkland Isles, Florida; Major: Government and Environmental Studies
  • John Ejiogu '23; Hometown: Imo, Nigeria; Major: Economics, Chemistry and Music minor
  • David Millman '23; Hometown: Richmond, Virginia; Major: History, Government minor
  • Annie Michalski '23; Hometown: Darien, Connecticut; Major: Politics, Philosophy, and Economics (PPE), Computer Science minor
  • Michael Carlowicz '22; Hometown: Cape Cod, Massachusetts; Major: Biology
  • Awo Adu '22; Hometown: Lowell, Massachusetts; Major: Film and Media Studies, modified with Pan-African Studies

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

Nicholas B. Van Kley: Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Black Hills State University; former Director, RWIT, and Senior Lecturer, Dartmouth College

Hon. Mary Miles Teachout: Vermont Superior Court Judge


A program listing of speech titles and more information can be found here

The call for the 2023 Benjamin F. Barge, the Class of 1866, and the Speech at Dartmouth Prizes for Oratory will be released during the Winter 2023 term.


For more information about the contest, contact: Josh Compton, Professor of Speech, Dartmouth College 

joshua.compton@dartmouth.edu, 603-646-9842