Congratulations to Participants of the 2024 Senior Colloquium!
Winners – Austin Torain, Christa Dutton, and Jae Canetti
Honorable Mentions – Jimena Elmufdi, Tahjanee Givens, Brianna High, Rachel Peterson, Claudia Rafa, Sofia Ramirez Pendroza, and Josephe Wyche
Wake Forest University has been honoring senior orators since 1835. This remarkable tradition elevates the importance of thoughtful public discourse within the University community and beyond.
The selection process for senior orations begins in the fall, when faculty are asked to nominate graduating seniors who they believe have exceptional promise. Nominated students are asked to write a one thousand word, critical reflection on their educational experiences. A panel of faculty reads these narratives and chooses the ten manuscripts that they deem most powerful.
Faculty, Deans, representatives from the Administration, friends, family, and these ten students will gather together on campus on the first Wednesday in February for the Senior Colloquium, when all ten orations will be heard. A separate faculty panel, present at the Colloquium, will choose the top three of the ten orations, including the overall winner. The three finalists will be recognized and the top orator will present their oration at Founders Day Convocation in February, as well as at the Honors and Awards and Commencement Ceremonies in May.
Past Winners and Events
|Title of Oration
|Full Colloquium Video
|Through My Lens
|Seized at the Root
|Heart of a Child
|Living and Loving the Questions
|Anna Grace Guercio
|Life Doesn’t Frighten Me
|I Hope You Dance
|The Unexpected Chaos of Life as a Deac
|What We Create in the Mind
|Melvin Washington III
|Who Is Wake Forest
|The Confessions of a Show Dog
|Easy As Pi
|To Understand the World…
|We Are Wake Forest
Did you present an oration at a past Colloquium event and don’t see it here? A project to collect past orations is underway – check back. Have a past oration to submit? Contact us and let us know!
In their book, Milestones – Defining Lists of Wake Forest Debate 1835-2022, Allen Louden and Jarrod Atchison describe, in detail, the history of Debate and Oration at Wake.
“Over a century and half, four primary settings dominated this influential Wake public voice. Faculty-required Senior Orations initially dominated, followed closely and often in tandem with Commencement Senior Orators. For multiple decades, before hosting responsibilities became too burdensome, public oratory was under the full purview of the literary societies.” “These special occasions were the featured intellectual and social events of the fall and spring season, inviting alumni and the State’s elite (as well as women from Meredith and Oxford) to the campus for oratories, debates, and celebration.” If you would like to read more, including the full historical list of Orators and their speeches, the book is available from Library Partners Press, and can be seen in ZSR here.