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Academics
April 26, 2010

Annual Delaney Speech Contest Offers Prize Money for the Lost Art of Persuasive Speaking

Chandra Persuad used her five minutes at the Delaney Speech Contest to talk about how women are portrayed in advertising and came away with the first place $500 prize at the Annual Delaney Speech Contest at St. Francis College on April 26.

“Ads always show women as young, tall, thin and white,” said Persaud, a junior at the College. “It has a bad affect on young women.” Persaud argued that ads for perfume and cars or anything else should show more diversity by including more plus-size models and minorities.

Carolann Falotico won the second place prize of $300 for her talk about the death of her father while Zara Mahmud earned the $200 third spot with her persuasive argument about how we can become more environmental in our day to day lives.

More than 20 students in all took the podium to express their thoughts on a range of subjects from growing up Chinese in New York City and Jesus Christ to football (soccer) and the wonder of kissing.

“Delaney has gotten more and more popular these last few years,” said Communications Arts Professor Dr. Timothy Dugan, who coordinates and judges the event. “I think it shows that our students understand how critical presentation skills are in all areas of the marketplace; from law to medicine, engineering to the sciences, teaching and even coaching. No matter what you do, you will have to be able to present yourself in the best way possible. That’s the lesson Delaney teaches us.”

The contest was named for former St. Francis Speech Professor Francis Delaney who made it his mission to “cure” St. Francis students in the 50’s and 60’s of their Brooklyn accents to help them get ahead in their careers. Professor Delaney bequeathed money to the school to help keep alive the fading art of persuasive speech. It is unique in New York City as the only known contest that rewards students for composing oral persuasive arguments. The contest allows students to not just explore topics but types of persuasion.

“While Delaney saw it his mission to ‘cure’ the accents of our students, in the Communication Arts Department now, our focus is on making students more competent communicators in all areas,” added Professor Dugan.

Photos Courtesy of Ted Levin

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City’s five boroughs and beyond.
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