From left: C. Henry Smith Oratorical Contest participants Hannah Mack-Boll, Diego Barahona, Kat Lehman, Molly White, Joel Wheeler and Lydia Haggard. (Photo by Andrew Strack)

C. Henry Smith orators apply Christian peace position to contemporary concerns

Hannah Mack-Boll, a senior peacebuilding and development major from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, won the 2017 C. Henry Smith Oratorical Contest at Eastern Mennonite University with her speech, “What is your intention?

She will receive a cash prize and entry in the bi-national competition with winners from other Mennonite-related colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.

The annual contest, established in 1974 by the directors of the C. Henry Smith Trust, offers students an opportunity to discuss the application of the Christian peace position to contemporary concerns in an 8-10-minute speech.

Listen to speech excerpts delivered during chapel.

Grantley Showalter, a senior peacebuilding and development major from Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, was awarded second place for his speech “‘Hygge’ and the Mennonite Moderate.”

Molly White, a senior peacebuilding and development major from Louisville, Kentucky, was awarded third place for her speech “Ruth’s Activism: Christianity, Identity, and Justice.”

Other contestants included:

  • Diego Barahona, a senior biochemistry major from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, presented “Toda la sobra de lo que se llevaron,” translated “What was left over from what they took.”
  • Lydia Haggard, a sophomore Bible and religion major from Norristown, Pa., presented “The Silent Treatment.”
  • Kat Lehman, a senior biology major from Dover, Ohio, presented “Diverse but United, Imperfect but Beautiful.”
  • Joel Wheeler, a senior social work major from Hudson, Michigan, presented “A Participation Trophy for the Millennials: Why millennials don’t suck, and why society needs their participation.”

The intercollegiate competition is administered by the Peace and Justice Ministries of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC). C. Henry Smith was an American Mennonite historian and professor at Mennonite colleges and the University of Chicago. He taught history for nearly 50 years at the collegiate level, and was well-known for his numerous books on Mennonite history and his particular attention to the peace commitments of the Mennonite tradition.

Eastern Mennonite University has participated in the event since 2003, with the exception of 2015. EMU students have won the grand prize at the bi-national level in 2003, 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2011. The contest is sponsored by EMU Bible & Religion, Language & Literature, and Peacebuilding & Development programs.

Speech Archives: 2016 2014 2013 2012