The Catholic University of America

Oct. 24, 2006

Declamation Contest Offers Eloquent Students Chance at $1,000

Students who are gifted with powerful voices and strong presence are invited to vie for the second Hartke Declamation Prize. Open to all CUA students - graduate or undergraduate, full- or part-time, degree- or non-degree seeking - the contest comes with a $1,000 first prize, $300 second prize and $200 third prize.

To compete, contestants are asked to propose two readings from poetry, literature, drama, speeches, essays or commentary keyed to the theme "Stories from the Last 100 Years," in memory of Rev. Gilbert V. Hartke, O.P., founder of CUA's drama department, and in celebration of the 100th anniversary of his birth and the 100th anniversary of the School of Arts and Sciences.

Entries are now being accepted; the deadline to submit them is Nov. 15. For a complete set of guidelines and rules for the competition, visit:

The competition round will be held publicly on campus at the Callan Theatre Monday, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m. Readings will be declaimed from memory before a public audience and contestants will be judged on elements of diction, elocution, presence and presentation.

The annual competition, first held last year, was made possible by the donation of professional actor and CUA alumnus Jack Knight, class of 1964. Knight won a similar declamation award while he was a student at the University of Massachusetts and it helped inspire him to take up a career as an actor.

For more information or to submit entries contact Professor of English Glen Johnson ( or Associate Professor of Drama BettyAnn Leeseberg-Lange (

The theme of the second Hartke Declamation Prize is tied to a centennial series of events commemorating both the 100th anniversary of the School of Arts and Sciences (1906) and the 100th anniversary of the birth (in 1907) of Father Hartke. The centennial series will extend through the spring 2007 semester.

Coming events include a performance by Emmy-nominated actress and CUA alum Colleen Zenk-Pinter, who will return to campus in November with her husband - fellow TV and movie actor Mark Pinter - to perform Gurney's two-person play "Love Letters," to benefit the Dean's Scholarship Endowment for the Department of Drama, which will give tuition assistance to outstanding CUA drama students. Other centennial series events include receptions to celebrate the Corcoran Gallery of Art exhibition (Nov. 18 to Jan. 21) "Joan of Arc," co-curated by CUA Associate Professor of Art Nora Heimann; Alumnus Joe Plummer's performance of "Will Shakespeare-Live!" (Feb. 9, 10 and 11); the performance by CUA Associate Professor of Drama Gary Sloan of "Haunted Prince: The Ghosts of Edwin Booth" at the National Portrait Gallery (March 19 and the following four Monday nights); and lectures by luminaries ranging from Sir Patrick Cormack, member of the United Kingdom Parliament (March 13, 2007), to Nobel-Prize-winning physicist William Phillips (March 16, 2007).


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Media contact(s):
· Chris Harrison, CUA Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600,
· Katie Lee, CUA Office of Public Affairs, 202-319-5600,