“If I am to speak ten minutes, I need a week for preparation;
if fifteen minutes, three days; if half an hour, two days;
if an hour, I am ready now.” --Woodrow Wilson

All University students are invited to tryout for the Moomaw Oratorical Contest, a competition endowed by Society alumnus Benjamin C. Moomaw (MED 1899) to encourage the development of superlative oratory skills at the University. Many distinguished members of the University have participated in the contest including Senator Kennedy. Those interested in participating should prepare an original speech of 6-8 minutes and attend a tryout session. The non-fiction speech must contain a thesis and must adhere to the time limit.

Participants will deliver their speeches in Jefferson Hall. A panel of faculty and alumni judges will determine the winner, who will receive a $600 prize. In addition, two $100 honorable mentions will be awarded. The winner is invited to be the guest of the Jefferson Society at the Founder’s Day Celebration, where the winner will be asked to read portions of the Declaration of Independence as part of the tribute to Mr. Jefferson.

Tryouts will happen this year from March 30 - April 2. During the tryout, participants will be asked to present part or all of their speech. Speeches do not need to be memorized; cards/papers/similar aids are allowed. The speech must be written exclusively for this contest, and significant portions of it cannot have been presented elsewhere. Depending on speech lengths, about six presenters will be selected for the actual competition.

To sign for tryout, please click here

Selection for Competition: Depending on speech lengths, about six presenters will be selected from the tryout process for the actual competition at 9:30pm, Friday, April 3, 2015 in the Jefferson Hall. Those speeches that have been selected for competition will be notified by 10pm, Thursday, April 2, 2015.

If you have any questions, please email Victoria Farris.

Location of Jefferson Hall


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Directions to Jefferson Hall: Jefferson Hall (Hotel C on the West Range) is directly across McCormick Road from Peabody Hall; is between Rooms 21 and 23 on the West Range; is the second hotel south of the chapel; is the hotel between Poe and Patterson Alleys; is the hotel between Society members Messrs. Edgar Allan Poe’s and Woodrow Wilson’s Range Rooms. If you need additional directions or have have any questions regarding the contest, feel free to contact Victoria Farris.

Free parking is available on the street along University Avenue, which is just down the hill from the West Range. Hourly visitor parking is available at the Central Grounds Parking Garage, and both Hospital Parking Garages East, and West. For more parking information call (434) 924-7231