Sophomore Ryan Kelly Murphy Wins Hillsdale College’s Edward Everett Prize in Oratory

HILLSDALE, Mich., May 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Hillsdale College announced that sophomore Ryan Kelly Murphy won the Seventh Annual Edward Everett Prize in Oratory, taking home the top prize of $3,000. Freshman finalist Michelle Reid won second place and $2,000, while freshman Joel Meng took third place and $1,000.  

“I want to present what I have to say to the best of my ability, while being articulate and persuasive,” Murphy said. “It’s just a whirlwind when you’re up there. You kind of zone everything out, even the audience, and you’re just focused on getting your message out in a powerful way.”

The annual competition seeks to foster the art of rhetoric and debate, encouraging students to exercise thoughtful and careful reasoning. This year’s topic was, “Is the Supreme Court the Final Arbiter of the Constitution?” Murphy’s winning argument sought to explain that it is not solely the people, but both the states and people who serve as the ultimate arbiters of the Constitution.

“The most important thing in selecting a winner is to discern who argued most convincingly and had the most evidence, because it’s the historical content, it’s the evidence, that wins us over in the end,” said Don Tocco, a friend of Hillsdale College and judge in the competition. “But even with the evidence, you have to have the personal conviction, the enthusiasm, the passion, the energy on the stage to drive that home to the audience.”

Kyle Huitt and Joshua Hoover were also in the top five finalists selected to compete in this year’s Everett Prize.

For more information on the Edward Everett Prize in Oratory, visit

Photos of the oratory competition can be viewed here.

About Hillsdale College
Hillsdale College, founded in 1844, has built a national reputation through its classical liberal arts core curriculum and its principled refusal to accept federal or state taxpayer subsidies, even indirectly in the form of student grants or loans. It also conducts an educational outreach effort promoting civil and religious liberty, including a free monthly speech digest, Imprimis, with a circulation of more than 3.6 million. More information is available at

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SOURCE Hillsdale College

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