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About Us

Oratory Now is a student-driven, faculty-directed center for training and research in oral expression. It provides peer tutoring and professional development services, teaches a credit-bearing PE course, and collaborates with organizations across the institution to produce workshops, podcasts, curricula, and community speaking events.


Founded in 2014, Oratory Now grew out of student, faculty, and alumni requests for a return to the teaching of speech, and has been amplified by concerns about the quality of our civic dialogue. These twin goals, speaking well and speaking civilly, once the centerpiece of liberal education, continue to guide the development of Oratory Now.


The animating force behind Oratory Now is the peer coach – a fellow student who has completed at least 7.5 hours of training, including a classroom practicum. New coaches are trained by more experienced Head Coaches, who lead them through an oratory boot camp designed to teach listening, speaking and coaching. 

In its first year, Oratory Now revived a Middlebury tradition dating back to 1825, the
Parker Merrill Speech Competition. It also began producing NER Out Loud, an annual collaboration with the New England Review, featuring the work of professional writers performed by students. In February 2018, Oratory Now founded a speaking award in honor of the late Professor John Spencer – the Spencer Prize in Oratory for First-Year Students. In 2020, Oratory Now started the First Year Symposium to welcome all students to the academic community in their first semester.

Visit our offices at the Elizabeth Hackett Robinson ’84 Innovation Hub, 132 Blinn Ln, Middlebury VT.

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Dana Yeaton,

Oratory Now Faculty Director

Ben Powers,
Oratory Now Associate Director

Oratory Head Coaches

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Sarina Chitkara '25.5


Vlera Hasani '24.5

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Xander Bowles '26

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Max Gibson '25

Liza Toll.webp

Liza Toll '24

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Victoria Fawcett '26

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Sascha Leidecker '24.5


Will Beckerman '26

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Henry Friedman '24

Alpana Bakshi.webp

Alpana Bakshi '26


Naja Irvin-Conyers '24


Seth Brown '24

Oratory Coaches

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Olivia Oehrle '24

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Sam Medina '25

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Claire Quigley '25

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Che DeFreitas '27


Meghasha Dangal '27


Daniza Tazabekova '26

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Neel Shah '26


Samimah Naiemi '25

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Lukka Wolff '25


Gigy Morales Giron '27


Rivinka de Silva '26


Cleo Baldoumas '24.5

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Dina Bazou '25

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Livia Davidson '26

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Mack Briglin '26.5

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Juan Salazar '27

Jared Ahern.HEIC

Jared Ahern '25


Christiana McEwen '27

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Celeste Marrero '27


Amelia Seepersaud '24


Cyrus Perkinson '25

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Ford Legg '27

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Israel Ostos '27

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Shalini Navsaria '27

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Shea Brams '26

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Youness Cheboubi '24

Ben Wagner.heic

Ben Wagner '25

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Miya Flores '25


Amanda Fang '27


Ines Ineza '27

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Sasha Wintersteller '26.5


Grace Mtunguja '26

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Izzy Manzano '26

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Elise Scott '26


Jordan Kwarteng '27


Josie Chun '26

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Yuvraj Shah '26

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Nathalie Chavez '26

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Letu Chibssa '26

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Edith Mauch '27

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