(Posted February 23, 2004)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Gretchen Stull, a senior from Waynesboro, Pa. studying communication and writing, received the first-place award in the annual Juniata College Bailey Oratorical by arguing that the term ?liberal arts education? carries little political weight and instead celebrates the liberating quality of a college education.

Stull, who received $1,000 for her award, and six other contestants were asked to address the topic "Does a Liberal Arts Education Mean Liberal Politics?" before a panel of judges and an attentive crowd, Thursday, Feb. 19 in the ballroom of Ellis College Center on the Juniata campus.

Erin Brunner, a senior from Erie, Pa. studying communication and media studies, received the second-place prize, receiving $500. Erin Baney, a junior from Warriors Mark, Pa. studying communication and life systems, received the third-place prize, receiving $300.
In her winning speech, Stull said, ?A school?s primary function is to educate students, to challenge students and to expand their views. Somewhere in all the politically charged rhetoric thrown about each day by newscasters, bureaucrats, analysts and politicians, the simple word ?liberal? came to have a very complex meaning.?

She went on to say, ?Liberal arts colleges are attended by members of all political parties. Liberal arts colleges do not discriminate or vary admittance because of political affiliation, nor should they. Liberal arts colleges encourage a free exchange of ideas among students and faculty to broaden understanding.?

Stull concluded her speech by saying, ?Liberal does not mean ?Democrat,? it means freedom. Liberal arts education is in place to free the minds of students who take part in it, to create critical thinkers and citizens of the world. ...Education and freedom are two concepts that go hand in hand. Education and politics do not.?
Judges for the event were:

Sarah Worley, a 2000 Juniata graduate and winner of the Bailey Oratorical in 1999. She is member services and advertising representative for South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce in Denver, Colo.

Dr. Bradley Miller, a 1994 Juniata graduate and a doctor at Family Health Associates in Belleville, Pa. He received the 2003 Health Professions Alumni Appreciation Award from Juniata College last summer.

Jeffrey Bellomo, a 2000 Juniata graduate and winner of the Bailey Oratorical in 2000. He is a law clerk for Judge for David L. Ashworth, in Lancaster Court of Common Pleas and will start a new job in May as an associate in the law firm of Anstine and Sparler in York, Pa.

The other finalists in the competition were seniors Michelle Calka, of Johnstown, Pa.; John Damin, of Ebensburg, Pa.; Christine Robbins, of Ballston Lake, N.Y.; and Paul Vranesic, of Lebanon, Pa.

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.