(Posted February 25, 2008)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Seven Juniata College students will present their most compelling arguments on how and why technology is altering our personal and professional lives at the annual John M. and Thomas F. Bailey Oratorical Contest, to be held at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 26 in the Suzanne von Liebig Theatre in the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts.

Admission is free and the event is open to the public.

The contest asks students to write and deliver a persuasive speech addressing the topic: "Reflect on the social changes new technologies are bringing to our private and/or professional lives."

A preliminary competition was held Feb. 16 to narrow the field of 34 student participants. Seven student speechmakers will take part in the final competition.

The seven finalists are seniors Adam Stanley, of Huntingtown, Md.; Josh Scacco, of Lebanon, Pa.; Ashley Hileman, of Roaring Spring, Pa.; and Shawn McDonald, of Gibsonia, Pa.; juniors Rachel Kern of Newburg, Pa.; and Justin Doutrich, of Marietta, Pa.; and sophomore Dustin Gee, of Lawrenceville, Pa.
The judges for the preliminary competition were Jane Croyle, a 1995 graduate who currently works in Juniata's enrollment offices; Jennifer Najarian, a graduate student in media studies at the University of Massachusetts; and Michael Horning, a graduate student and teaching assistant in Penn State University's College of Communication.

Judges for the final competition are:
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 prize money for the Bailey Oratorical Contest totals $1,800. The first-place winner receives $1,000, second place receives $500, and third place receives $300.

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. An enhanced endowment contribution by Judge Bailey's son-in-law Colonel Sedgley Thornbury, has raised the prize money level to $1,800. In addition, the name of the winner will be permanently inscribed on an antique loving cup presented to the college by Colonel Thornbury's son, Thomas Bailey Thornbury.

Contact April Feagley at feaglea@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3131 for more information.