woman speaking from podium

Dannis B. Eaton Speech Competition

A graphic with a yellow background and purple and blue lettering with info on a speech competition Nov. 9, 2023

The Dannis B. Eaton Speech Competition: Red Hawk Talks is an annual event held by the Fundamentals of Speech Program in the School of Communication and Media. Each fall we invite the campus to address a topic that asks all Montclair State students to ponder current events, and propose visions and solutions to the problems and questions that are confronting our society today. The topic for the 2023 competition is My Food, inspired by the School of Communication and Media’s #FOCUSFOOD project.

The competition speeches can be informative or persuasive and should be 6-8 minutes in length. The topic of food should be addressed in some way. Some possible speech topics to consider:

  • Food Insecurity
  • Food Justice
  • Factory Farming
  • Regenerative Farming
  • Food Supply Chain
  • Climate Change and Our Food Systems
  • Food as Medicine
  • Cultural Significance of Food
  • Benefits of Particular Diets
The Qualifying Round – October 24, 2023

You are required to provide a preview of your intended speech. Judges will consider delivery and content when selecting the five competitors. Do your best to deliver your preview with no presentation notes. You should not read your presentation to the judges. Your speech can be either informative or persuasive and be 1-2 minutes in length.

The Qualifying Round to select five finalists will occur October 24 from 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm in Morehead 201. Starting at 1:00pm, a student will be scheduled every five minutes to present their 1-2 minutes preview (For instance, 3:00pm, 3:05pm, 3:10pm, and so on). You will receive your presentation time from speech consultant, Tiffannie Coy, via email on October 23.


Students must register for the Qualifying Round by emailing Public Speaking Resource Center consultant, Tiffannie Coy: coyt1@montclair.edu

The registration period is open from October 9 – October 22, 2023.

The Competition – November 9, 2023

The main event will be held 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm in the Presentation Hall of the SCM building! The five finalists will present their 6-8 minute speech at the public event. Winners will be announced at the end of the competition!

Students are encouraged to visit the Public Speaking Resource Center in Morehead Hall for more details and assistance preparing for the competition. The speech consultants can help you develop not only the performative aspects of your speech but also the content. Your speech should contain a clear thesis and transitions among the main points of the body. It is also important to note that the expectation is that the speech will be extemporaneous (meaning you DO NOT read your speech). Presentation notes are permitted but should be minimal. Our speech consultants can also assist you in deciding if any visual aids are appropriate and how they should be incorporated into the speech.

Previous Dannis B. Eaton Speech Competition Winners

2022 – My Vote

First Place – Emma Haskell

Second Place – Aamani Jenkins 

Third Place – Anthony Foster

2019 – My Earth

First Place – Sam Carliner

Second Place – Giovanna Da Silva Pagungue

Third Place –  Kenny Slaman

You can listen to the 2019 competitors’ speeches (Carley Campbell, Sam Carliner, Francis Churchill, Giovanna Da Silva Pagungue, and Kenny Slaman) on WMSC’s SoundCloud account.

2018 – My Community

First Place – Kennedy Royal (Sophomore, Family Science and Human Development)

Second Place – Patrick Farley (Freshman, Television and Digital Media)

Third Place – Margaret Moutis (Senior, Communication Studies)

2017 – My Stamp

First Place – Crystal Wright (Freshman, Musical Theater Makeup Artistry)

Second Place – Tiffany Baskerville (Junior, Journalism)

Third Place – Tori Murry (Freshman, Communication Studies)