Eastman Rice Stage Speaking Contest

The Eastman Rice Stage speaking contest requires contestants to develop & present an 8-9 minute extemporaneous speech on the topic of how CALS improves the well-being of individuals and/or communities through its teaching and/or research programs. The best five speeches will be awarded a cash prize and will speak at a public event.


  1. Send notification of your intent to enter to ml2576 [at] cornell.edu (Professor Michelle LaVigne) March 30th, 2018.  Use “Eastman-Rice” as the subject line & and answer the questions on the entry form below. 
  2. All contestants will be scheduled to present their speeches to a pair of judges in the Preliminary Contest on April 10th, 2018 (by appointment between 3:00 & 5:00). At the end of the day, 5 finalists are selected to go on to the finals. 
  3. The 5 Finalists will present to an audience on the evening of April 12th, 2018 (7:00-8:15 pm) & the prizes are determined by a pair of judges.


  • 1st Place $1,500   
  • 2nd Place $1,000   
  • 3rd Place $800
  • 2 Honorable Mentions $600 each


  1. The presentation must be a persuasive or informative speech.
  2. The topic must be related to agriculture and/or life sciences*
  3. The speech must be 8 to 9 minutes in length.
  4. Note cards may be used.
  5. No visual aids are permitted.
  6. No manuscripts are permitted.
  7. No lectern is permitted.

Eastman-Rice Speaking Stage Application Email

Include the following information in your email:

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Academic year of study
  • Major
  • Phone number
  • Topic of speech and a couple of sentences on how it relates to CALS