AU Press Releases

Alfred University Phi Beta Kappa chapter sponsors 'Wit and Wisdom' competition

The Alfred University Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest honor society, is looking for undergraduate students “blessed with wit and wisdom to deliver an eloquent and stirring address to the community.”

The competition is open to all full-time undergraduate students who are on campus this fall semester; entries may be a piece of creative writing, or a scholarly essay. A single winner will be selected from among submissions in the two categories. Students may compete in one or both of the categories.

Entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. Nov. 6. Late entries will not be considered. Entries may be submitted electronically to or sent to Assistant Professor Juliana Gray, chair, Wit and Wisdom Selection Committee, English Division, Seidlin Hall.

Finalists will be notified by Nov. 20. All finalists will be required to present their work to a panel of judges, and the winner will be notified by Dec. 4.
The winner, who will receive a $250 honorarium, must be available to deliver a 40-minute lecture at the Bergren Forum March 4, 2010.

Specific guidelines are:

Scholarly essay: This category is limited to scholarly or academic essays that would appeal to a general audience of adults. Entries will be judged on the quality and significance of the scholarship and/or research and excellence in writing, as well as the student’s skill in oral presentation. The area of scholarship must fall within the general category of the liberal arts and sciences. Technical essays that are not easily understood by a general audience will not be accepted. All research included in the essay must be appropriately cited in the written version of the essay.

Creative writing: This category includes all genres of fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction and playwriting. Entries will be judged on originality and excellence in writing, as well as the students’ skill in oral presentation.

Length: The length of the entry is limited only by the length of the public lecture, which will be approximately 40 minutes. When timing a work, students should consider that the public presentation should also include comments to help the audience understand the work. Any work selected must be appropriate to present to a general audience of adults. The winning work will appear in a campus publication.