Wendell Phillips Award and Senior Baccalaureate Speaker

The Wendell Phillips Award was established in 1896 to honor Boston’s great orator and advocate for abolition and women’s and Native People’s rights. The award is given annually to a senior who demonstrates both marked ability as a speaker and a high sense of public responsibility. Selected by the Committee on Student Life, the winner is the one graduating senior invited to offer a speech as part of Commencement, and the speech takes place during the Baccalaureate Service. The speech is intended to deliver a social justice message for our time.

05/20/2017 – Medford/Somerville, Mass. – Isabella Kahhale, A17, recipient of the annual Wendell Phillips Award, addresses her classmates at the annual Baccalaureate Service on on the eve of Tufts University’s 161st Commencement on May 20, 2017. The Baccalaureate tradition began at Tufts University in 1864. The Wendell Phillips Memorial Scholarship is given annually to a senior, recommended by the Committee on Student Life, who has demonstrated a high sense of public responsibility on the campus. This is one of the two prize scholarships (the other being assigned to Harvard College) that were established in 1896 by the Wendell Phillips Memorial Fund Association in honor of Boston’s great preacher and orator. (Alonso Nichols/Tufts University)

Faculty, staff, and students may nominate seniors to apply to be the Wendell Phillips Speaker, and seniors many self-nominate by October 31, 2017. All nominated students will be informed by mid-November 2017 and will be invited to submit an application, including a letter of application, a resume of leadership and service activities, and a recorded speech.

Nominate a senior student before the deadline here. 

Applications are reviewed by the Committee on Student Life (CSL), and the CSL will invite finalists to present brief speeches at an open forum in mid-March in Goddard Chapel. The CSL will then select the winner. This award also carries a cash prize of approximately $900.

For more information, please contact the University Chaplain, The Reverend Greg McGonigle, at chaplaincy@tufts.edu or 617-627-3427.

Previous Wendell Phillips Award recipients:

2017 – Isabella Kahhale

2016 – Sharad Sagar

2015 – Michael Maskin

2014 – Jessica Wilson

2013 – Kristen Ford

2012 – Allister Chang

2011 – Brian Agler

2010 – David Mok

2009 – Anjali Nirmalan

2008 – Alexandra Pryor

2007 – Casey Beck

2006 – Mauricia Artinano A06

2005 – Eitan Hersh A05

2004 – Candace J. Gomez A04

2003 – Elaine P. Wang A03

2002 – Michael W. Ferenczy E02

2001 – Thea Lavin A01

2000 – Keshia Pollack J00

1999 – Alexander R. Shalom A99

1998 – Andrea D. Friedman A98

1997 – Eric A. Pliner A97

1996 – Ancy Verdier A96

1995 – Sarah L. McGinley A95

1994 – Adam Tratt A94

1993 – Randy Ravitz A93

1992 – Sharon Wachsler J92

1991 – Jonathan C. Cutler A91

1990 – Myra M. Frazier J90

1989 – Daniel A. Feldman A89

1988 – Michael D. Epstein A88