The Warren A. Guthrie Competition recognizes the university’s most outstanding public speakers.

All CWRU undergraduates are eligible to compete for the Guthrie prizes. 

Format: Contestants deliver a short talk, approximately 3 to 5 minutes in length. If you want inspiration for designing your presentation, you might model it after the popular TEDx, Ignite, or PechaKucha presentation styles.

Prizes: Cash prizes will be awarded for the best presentations. 

1st prize – $500 2nd prize – $300 3rd prize – $200

ENTRY DEADLINE: Guthrie Prizes for 2024 have already been awarded. Check back in Winter 2025 for next year’s entry forms and deadlines.

Contestants will deliver a short talk (approximately 3 to 5 minutes in length). If you want inspiration for designing your presentation, you might model it after the popular Ted-X, Ignite, or Pecha-Kutcha presentation styles.

Cash prizes will be awarded for the best presentations. ($500 1st, $300 2nd, $200 3rd.)


    We suggest that you record your talk using Zoom and then share the link to your recording. You could also share via Google Drive (using your CWRU credentials).
    To submit your entry, send the link to your recorded file to


Students who are interested in competing in this year’s competition are encouraged to consider the following criteria as they prepare their speech.

  • Choose a topic that will be of interest to a broad general audience.
  • You should be fluent in your topic, but you do not need to be an expert.
  • You do not need to present on an academic subject. In fact, you may find it easier to craft a stirring speech about another one of your passions. Extracurricular, volunteer, and social justice experiences can all make for inspiring orations.
  • Remember to practice your talk before you record your final version. Recording yourself as you practice is an excellent way to identify where you can improve for the final recording that you submit!

Remember to practice your talk before you record your final version. (Recording yourself as you practice is also a good way to identify where you can improve for the final recording that you submit!)


Professor Warren A. Guthrie (1911-1986). In 1934, Guthrie joined the Speech Department of Western Reserve University, where he also served as chair from 1946 to 1964.  Following his successful teaching career, Guthrie became a pioneer television newscaster as the “SOHIO Reporter” for WJW-TV in Cleveland.  Guthrie joined the public relations team of SOHIO in 1963 and retired in 1986 after serving 20 years as director.

The Guthrie Prize is awarded through the generosity of Ronald H. (Karpinski) Carpenter (WRC ’54, MA ’59). Dr. Carpenter earned his PhD in Speech from the University of Wisconsin in 1966 and has enjoyed a distinguished career as professor of speech and English at the University of Florida.  He is the author of numerous books and scholarly articles, the recipient of awards for his teaching and scholarship, and a consultant in public speaking to private industry.  Dr. Carpenter credits his relationship with Warren Guthrie and winning first prize in the Woodward Oratory Contest at Western Reserve University with establishing the trajectory of his career.


2024 Guthrie Prize Winners
Ussaid Ishaq (Political Science, Economics, ’24), “What Does It Mean to Be an Immigrant?”
2. Lauren Eterno (Data Science & Analytics, ’25), “Garbage In, Garbage Out, and Garbage In Between: The Dangers of Bad Data and Algorithms” & Malachi Levy (English, ’25), “Ignorance and Wisdom: Lessons to Be Learned from Hip-Hop”
3. Bhavya Bansal (Medical Anthropology, ’27), “Straws: An Interdisciplinary Approach” & Nivedita Srinivasan (Biology, Chemistry, Sports Medicine, ’26), “Is There a Difference between Reel and Real Anymore?”

2022 Guthrie Prize Winners
Veronica Madell (English, Education ’22), “Leadership for High School Students”
2. Toyin Olabode (Psychology, Music ’22), “Black Perceptions of Police Interactions in the U.S.”
3. Nathan Shapiro (Religious Studies, Sociology ’22), “Anti-Semitism on Social Media”

2021 Guthrie Prize Winners
1. Ricky Gilmore-Vega (History, Spanish, Political Science ’21), “Oberlin: Cradle of Radical Abolitionism”
2. Lindsey Ho (Chemical Engineering ’22), “When to Teach Children about White Privilege and Racism”
3. Jeremy Rodrigues (Philosophy, Political Science, Economics ’21), “Dismantling the Iran Deal”

2020 Guthrie Prize Winners
1. Sierra Grabowska (Theater ’22), “Micro-hospitalization is a Threat to Mental Health”
2. Jordan Deskins (International Studies ’22), “International Labor Solidarity”
3. Hannah Allen (English ’22), “No COVID Discount: Sex Workers During the Pandemic”
3. Camille Witt (Sociology ’22), “Running and Becoming”

2019 Guthrie Prize Winners
1. Marin Exler, “Are Things Actually Meant to Be?”
2. Viral Mistry, “Advocating With, Not For”
2. Brendan Murray, “Soccer in India & The Unlikely Lessons Learned”
3. Saloni Lad, “What it Means to Stand Out for Medical School”