Past Competitions

Sturcken Oratorical Logo

2018- Inaugural Competition

The Inaugural Sturcken Memorial Oratorical Competition was held on 13 October 2018 in the Rita Liddy Hollings Science Center. Six Orators delivered convincing and perceptive proposals on the state of justice on our campus in particular and lived ways. 

The first prize went to Sylvie Baele, who advocated that the College better serve bike-riding students. She provides a comprehensive argument for linking CofC to supporting what is often the only mode of transportation for many students, but particularly those without the means to afford a car. More specifically, this proposal argued expanding a bike co-op on campus through establishing a physical space and an FYE class to plug students in to the co-op initiative as a means to inspire tangible and locally-applied consciousness around access, equity, and sustainability.

Oratorical Winner Promotes Cycling as Key to Diversity

Second prize went to Sean Dalton, who took second prize with a proposal to tell the stories of CofC student's triumphs and challenges with on-campus experiences of marginalization. Runners-up include: Taylor Boes, who advocated we encourage solidarity among students who have survived sexual assault; Jake Brown, who proposed a clearer link from mental health services to students on campus needing these services; Grace Headrick, who argued that we refocus the campus conversation of sexual assault to first focus on the aggressor's role in men's violence against women; and Jordan Mercer, who fought for improving access to physical spaces on campus which exclude or unduly burden persons who are physically dis/abled.

Attached is the program for the event. 

The Program:
To commemorate the brave contributions of Francis “Frank” Sturcken (’51), a white student who delivered a speech advocating for desegregating the College of Charleston.

Student Orators
In order of presentation
Jordan Mercer
Taylor Boes
Sylvie Baele
Jake Brown
Sean Dalton
Grace Headrick
Remarks from: 
Patricia Williams Lessane
Associate Dean of the Libraries,
Co-Principal Investigator for the Race and Social Justice Initiative,
and Executive Director for the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. 

Elizabeth (Ginger) Sturcken
Managing Director, EDF + Business
daughter of Francis “Frank” Sturcken

Serving on the panel are:
Dr. Alicia Caudill (she/her, Executive VP for Student Affairs),
Dr. Julia Eichelberger (she/her, Southern Studies faculty),
Dr. Caroline Foster (she/her, Communications faculty),
Tamika Gadsden (she/her, local activist), and
Summer Standiford (she/her, English student)

The Sturcken Oratorical is  a collaboration between: The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture,
the Black Student Union, Catering Services, the Charleston Activist Network, the Division of Student Affairs, the Honors College,
the Office of the Provost, the Office of Sustainability, the Phillip Simmons Foundation, Physical Plant, Prism, the Race and
Social Justice Initiative, the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Special Collections, the Sustainability Literacy Institute,
and the academic Departments of African American Studies, Communications, English, Women’s and Gender Studies, and Southern Studies.