The Colby College chapter of Phi Beta Kappa is pleased to announce a student speech contest, to be held during the Colby Liberal Arts Symposium (CLAS), on Thursday, April 30, from noon-1 pm.

The topic is: “To what outcomes should a liberal arts college aspire for its students?”

The finalists are:
  • Alexa Busser
  • Liam Connell
  • Precious Hunt
  • Claire Muscat
  • Darpan Roychowdhury
  • Jeb Waters
Prizes will be awarded to the top three speakers: $500 for first prize; $300, for second; $100, for third.
A limited number of boxed lunches will be available for those coming to watch the speech contest.

Some additional questions that may help frame your approach to this speech:

  • To what extent should liberal arts colleges value tangible outcomes such as job placement, professional or graduate admissions, fellowship awards, etc.?
  • What is the relative importance of outcomes inside of disciplines versus those across disciplines?
  • Are there specific ways to measure or assess the most desired outcomes? Are the desired outcomes not amenable to quantitative assessment?

Speeches are not to exceed 6 minutes in length. Every speech must answer the question, though how you address the topic is up to you. Be creative; be interesting; be compelling. Humor is welcomed and even encouraged, but it must be well integrated into your response to the topic question. The judges will evaluate the speeches based on content, style, delivery, and impact.

Contestants will deliver their speeches in two preliminary rounds of competition during April 14-23. The top six contestants will be selected to compete in the final round during the Colby Liberal Arts Symposium (CLAS) on April 30.

The first 40 pre-registrants will each receive $20 gift certificates to Pad Thai Too (contingent upon their good faith participation in the preliminary round competition).

Students interested in participating will need to register by 4 pm on Friday, April 10, so that we may schedule the preliminary rounds appropriately.

To register, please complete the online form at:

Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest national honor society, and it honors excellence in the liberal arts and sciences. Colby has had a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa since 1896, and each year it elects to membership a handful of academically outstanding juniors and approximately 10% of the senior class, chosen on the basis of their academic achievements, good character, and demonstrated commitment to the ideals of liberal education.

Information on Colby’s chapter of Phi Beta Kappa can be found at: For further information about the competition, contact Kevin Rice,, x5763.