Williams, Marion and Wolfe Named 2023 Speech Competition Winners

The 2023 Presenter of the Year finalists are (L-R) Logan Williams, Darby Marion, Summer Wolfe, Hannah Murphy, Aman Patel and Carter Stainton.
November 13 , 2023  |  By Ryan Sheets

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The Business Communication Lab at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the U of A Department of Communication hosted the annual Presenter of the Year Competition on Nov. 7. Logan Williams delivered the winning speech, receiving a $250 Amazon gift card; Darby Marion came in second, winning a $150 Amazon gift card; and Summer Wolfe placed third, receiving a $100 Amazon gift card. 

Hannah Murphy, Aman Patel and Carter Stainton also presented in the final round. 

All contestants were Walton College students who are currently enrolled in either Principles of Public Speaking (COMM 1313) or Honors Business Communication (BUSI 210VH). The competition had two rounds, including the finals, and each student delivered a five- to seven-minute informative speech. The final round was open to the public, and approximately 250 students attended the final round to watch their peers' speeches. Contestants' speeches covered a variety of topics, including current trends shaping the movie and video production industry, the social and economic effects of wrongful incarceration, and the underrepresentation of women in economics degree programs.

"The Presenter of the Year competition is an excellent opportunity for students enrolled in the program to stand out amongst their peers and showcase the skills they’ve gained throughout the semester. Our students work hard and it’s exciting to celebrate their confidence and competence in public speaking," said Lauren Lambert, COMM 1313 course director. "I always look forward to working with the Walton College of Business each fall to host this event." 

This competition provides students with the opportunity to practice presentation skills in front of a live audience and also rewards students who deliver excellent speeches. Students benefit by improving their public speaking skills, and the university community benefits by learning about topics that are of interest to its students. 

“The Presenter of the Year event provides a brief window into the remarkable leadership abilities exhibited by U of A students. The passion and confidence these students bring to the competition is nothing short of inspiring,” said Liza Vammen, associate director of the Business Communication Lab. 

Special judges for the final round were Lauren Lambert, course coordinator for the COMM 1313 course and instructor in the Department of Communication, Cathy Hollingsworth, instructor in the Department of Communication, and Avery Alford and Luke Lyster, the first- and second-place winners, respectively, from the previous competition. Preliminary rounds were judged by Department of Communication instructors and graduate students and by staff from the Business Communication Lab.

"Every year I am amazed by both the skill and courage of students who present in front of hundreds of their peers as well as how much support they have from their classmates in the audience," said Ryan Sheets, director of the Business Communication Lab. “They teach me something new every time we hold this competition.”