(Posted March 5, 2002)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Leigh Ann Suhrie, a senior from East Stroudsburg, Pa. studying marketing and communication, received the first-place award in the annual Juniata College Bailey Oratorical by convincing a panel of judges that one of the missing lessons of the Sept. 11 attacks is that Americans should donate blood not only in response to a catastrophic event, but also on an regular, ongoing basis.

Suhrie, who received $500 for her award, and seven other contestants were asked to address the topic "Challenge us to re-examine the assumptions of the consequences of our actions, of our citizenship and of our place in the world." before a panel of judges and an attentive crowd, Tuesday, Feb. 26 in the ballroom of Ellis College Center on the Juniata campus.

Stephanie Durnford, a junior from Accokeek, Md. studying communication, received the second place prize, receiving $300. Rebecca Goodall, a senior from Calvin, Pa. studying English and communication, and Lauren Gutshall, a junior from Carlisle, Pa. studying politics and communication, shared the third place prize and each received $200.

In her winning speech, Suhrie said "Americans responded overwhelmingly to our national crisis by giving blood. However, we abruptly stopped giving blood soon after the media ceased its 24-hour coverage, while the need for blood donations did not cease. Blood donations made on a regular basis can help alleviate the ongoing need."

She went on to say, "Everyday 25,000 people need the hope that you can provide. The overwhelming response to Sept. 11 proved that people will give blood immediately, swiftly and generously. We should not stop giving blood. It is still needed."

Judges for the event were Christopher Scalia, a 1998 Juniata College graduate and corporate lawyer with the Harrisburg law firm of Morgan, Lewis and Bockius LLP; Shelley Whitcomb, a 1996 Juniata graduate and legislative assistant for U.S. Rep. Todd Platts of Pennsylvania's 19th District; and Robert Ascah, of State College. He is a Penn State University graduate and a member of the State College school board.

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