The (First Annual!)

First-Year Symposium

Welcoming First-Year Scholars to the academic community
On December 1, 2020, Oratory Now will launch the inaugural First-Year Symposium, an event featuring presentations by first-year students.

Stay tuned for details!

For FYS Faculty 


Three years ago, Oratory Now established the Spencer Prize in Oratory for First-Year Students, an annual competition that is now fully endowed. In 2018, we collaborated with FYSE instructors Robert Greeley, Michelle McCauley, and Pat Zupan on a pilot project we called the “FYS Mini-Symposium.” Together we created not a competition, but a celebratory event that featured individual, small group, and poster presentations. Participants had the option of preparing with help from Oratory Now peer coaches.

Why Now?

We know it will be a major challenge this fall for new students to connect. And after Thanksgiving, when the semester is normally culminating, students will be even more isolated from each other, and from us. That’s why we think now is the time for an online event designed to: 


  • serve as a capstone assignment combining written and oral expression,

  • bring students together in a way that fuses the social with the academic,

  • take advantage of remote learning in the weeks after Thanksgiving, and

  • provide peer coaching to build oral presentation skills.

What We Know

The event will take place online Tuesday, Dec.  1.

Presentations may be done live or pre-recorded, solo or as a group. Each speaker will have a maximum of 3 minutes (i.e. a group of 4 could have up to 12 minutes).

FYS Faulty may register their classes to participate, or students may sign up independently.

Students who participate in the Symposium will automatically be eligible to register for the

Spencer Prize in Oratory for First-Year Students.

What We Don't Know

Scheduling and other logistical decisions will be made this fall in consultation with participating faculty. 

For 1st-Year
Later in the semester, when we announce the FYSymposium "Wildcard Prompt,"  you'll be able to sign up to participate. Want us to let you know when that happens?
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