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Winning Speech at Bailey Oratorical Contest Calls for Leadership in Technology Revolution

(Posted February 27, 2008)

The top three finishers in Juniata's Bailey Oratorical Contest are, from left, Ashley Hileman, a senior from Roaring Spring, Pa., second place; Dustin Gee, a sophomore from Lawrenceville, Pa., first place; Adam Stanley, a senior from Huntingtown, Md., third place; and Donna Weimer, Thornbury Professor of Communication.

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Dustin Gee, a sophomore from Lawrenceville, Pa., received the first-place award last night in the annual Juniata College Bailey Oratorical Contest by asserting that the United States and other technologically advanced nations have failed to provide leadership in the effort to bridge a technology gap between developed countries and developing nations.

"Why then, as American whose leaders are described as proactive, known for inspiring shared vision and leading by example, are we choosing to leave other countries behind in this Technical Revolution?" Gee argued in his introduction. "There are disparities in access to information technology and a lack of education that prohibits the global community from meeting its full potential."

Gee, who received $1,000 for his award, and six other contestants were asked to address the topic "Reflect on the social changes new technologies are bringing to our private and/or professional lives" before three judges and an enthusiastic crowd, Tuesday, Feb. 26 in the Suzanne von Liebig Theatre in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts on the Juniata campus.

Ashley Hileman, a senior from Roaring Spring, Pa., earned the second-place prize, receiving $500. Adam Stanley, a senior from Huntingtown, Md., was awarded the third-place prize, receiving $300.

In his winning speech, Gee said, "One of the key factors driving the 'digital divide' is the gap in access to information technology. For some countries, access to information technology is relatively easy. To others, it is out of reach and impossible to use due to financial constraints and lack of infrastructure or understanding."

"If the United States plans to serve as a leader in the Technology Revolution, we have the responsibility to take others with us. We must remember to look over our shoulder, to make sure everyone is keeping up, to make sure no one gets left behind."
Dustin Gee, sophomore from Lawrenceville, Pa.

He went on to say, "The need for equal access to information technology is pertinent to global society and until all countries have equal access, the gap between developed and developing nations will continue to grow. For developing countries the ability to move into the Information Age depends on the capacity of the whole society to be educated, and to be able to process complex information. Those of use who have access and the right education (often) easily overlook the injustice and frustrations that many developing countries face when it comes to technology"

Gee concluded his speech by saying, "If the United States plans to serve as a leader in the Technology Revolution, we have the responsibility to take others with us. We must remember to look over our shoulder, to make sure everyone is keeping up, to make sure no one gets left behind."

The remaining four finalists were: Josh Scacco, a senior from Lebanon, Pa.; Shawn McDonald, a senior from Gibsonia, Pa.; Rachel Kern, a senior from Newburg, Pa.; and Justin Doutrich, a senior from Marietta, Pa.

Judges for the event were:

David Decker is a 2000 Juniata graduate and is senior Web developer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. He earned a bachelor's degree in computer media studies at Juniata.
Bridget O'Brien Decker earned a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and writing in 2000 from Juniata College. She went on to earn a master's degree in professional writing in 2003 from Carnegie Mellon University. She currently is the director of Web communications in Carnegie Mellon's College of Engineering. Previously, she worked as assistant director of alumni relations at Juniata.

Patrick Parsons, Don Davis Professor in Ethics at Penn State University, is an expert on media technology and social change and media ethics. He has written several books on the media, including "Cable Television and the First Amendment," and as a co-author, "The Cable and Satellite Television Industry." He earned a bachelor's degree and master's degree in journalism from California State University at Northridge. He earned his doctorate at the University of Minnesota and worked as an assistant professor of communication at California State University at Fullerton. Before starting his academic career, Parsons worked as a wire service reporter and television news writer.

The original Bailey Oratorical Award was established in 1915 by the Honorable Thomas F. Bailey, who served as president judge of Huntingdon County from 1916 to 1936. The oratorical contest has a long tradition at Juniata College, as students from all areas of study can compete for the monetary prize. In addition, the name of the winner will be permanently inscribed on an antique loving cup.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.