C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest Information

The student participants in the 2023 C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest (left to right): Daniel Eash-Scott, a junior history major from Wauwatosa, Wisconsin; Mike Murrell, a junior communication major from Kettering, Ohio; Caleb Shenk, a junior accounting major from Goshen; Augusta Nafziger, a senior writing and music major from Weyers Cave, Virginia; and the first-place winner, Jakyra Green, a junior English and education major from Elkhart.

The annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest gives Goshen College students an opportunity to explore peace from a faith perspective, get involved in the cause of peace, to test ideas, and to cultivate rhetorical skills.

Contest Rules

All participants must complete an application form, deliver an 8-10 minute extemporaneous speech that relates to the topic of peace, limiting the length to 1200 words, with no more than 10 percent quoted material. All participants will first present their speeches to a committee made up of Communication faculty/staff members, and at least one student member. This committee will select four to five finalists for the contest.

Contest Topic

The theme of the Christian peace position may be explored in a universal or a particular context, and may pertain to issues of war and violence, political policies, agencies of justice and peace, strategies of peacemaking, or current events. Topics might include: poverty, disarmament, hunger, domestic violence, pollution, interventionism, immigration, international conflicts, or any number of contemporary issues or challenges.


  • Friday, December 8, 2023 – Applications due to Anna Groff, assistant professor of communication
  • January 17, 2024 – First round of auditions begin for the C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest
  • (Date TBA) – Continuation of the first round of try-outs
  • Tuesday, February 20, 2024, 7 p.m. – Annual C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest in the Umble Center


First Place: $300
Second Place: $150                                                                                                                                                    Third Place: $75


Three to five persons, selected from students, faculty, and community leaders will judge the contest on originality, integration of topic and a peace position, and general standards of delivery.

The top winner may enter the Mennonite Central Committee C. Henry Smith Peace Oratorical Contest.

Speech Contest Entry Form

Click here to complete an entry form.

» Read about previous winners