The Catholic University of America

Nov. 4, 2008

Hartke Contest Offers Eloquent Students $1,000 Prize:
Get Paid to Talk About the President

Students who enjoy using public speaking skills are invited to "get presidential" while vying for the fourth annual Hartke Declamation Prize. Open to all CUA students - graduate or undergraduate, full- or part-time, degree- or non-degree-seeking - the contest will award a $1,000 first prize, $300 second prize and $200 third prize.

This year, contestants will speak from memory before an audience on the theme of "The United States Presidency." To enter the contest, students need to propose a pair of 2- to 5-minute readings from oratory, commentary, poetry, literature or drama by or about any American president. These entries must be received by Wednesday, Dec. 3.

The actual competition will be held in CUA's Callan Theatre on Monday, Feb. 2, at 6 p.m. All members of the CUA community are invited to join the audience. Readings will be declaimed from memory and contestants will be judged on elements of diction, elocution, presence and presentation. The winners will be named at the end of the competition. A reception will follow the contest.

The annual competition is the brainchild of professional actor and CUA alumnus Jack Knight, class of 1964, who donated the prize money. Knight won a similar declamation award while he was a student, an experience that helped inspire him to take up a career as a television, film and stage actor.

The contest is held in memory of Rev. Gilbert V. Hartke, O.P., founder of CUA's drama department.

For more information or to submit entries, contact Melissa Flaim, a lecturer in voice and speech in CUA's Department of Drama, at or 202-319-6467.