Winners announced for Thomas Jefferson essay contest
Three students won top honors in the annual essay competition endowed by the late Philip L. Carret.
Students Lauryl Fischer, Gregory Fulcher, and Greg Melanson have been selected as winners of the 17th annual Philip L. Carret Endowment Thomas Jefferson Essay Contest. The students were honored at a banquet held on April 13.
Seven students entered this year's competition, writing on the following prompt:
"Both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Thomas Jefferson chose their words carefully in order to confront problems specific to their generation and historical context. Both have also entered into the pantheon of “Great Americans," and their words—etched in marble, republished, and quoted endlessly—have assumed a “timeless” quality, like secular scripture for our democracy.
Please compare Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Why We Can’t Wait and a text (or texts) of your choice by Thomas Jefferson. You may address their rhetorical styles, specific arguments, and/or contemporary or subsequent reception. What, in your view, is the most significant difference between the two, and what might this difference signify about American history or values?"
First Place Winner: Lauryl Fischer
Senior, (Majors: English and Communications)
Fischer’s essay was titled, “The Changing Rheoric of Revolution: Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr., Michael Brown and Black Lives Matter.” She won the $1,000 prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to Thomas Jefferson’s home in Monticello, Virginia.
Second Place: Gregory Fulcher
Junior, (Majors: English and Communications)
Fulcher’s essay was titled, “King and Jefferson: The Challenges of Modern Democracy.” He received the $500 second place award.
Third Place: Gregory Melanson
Senior (Major: Marketing)
Melanson’s essay was titled, “Echoes in History Between Thomas Jefferson and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.” He received the $100 third place award.
The contest was judged by Paula Patch, senior lecturer in English; Amy Johnson, assistant professor of history; and Laurence Basirico, professor of sociology.
The Philip L. Carret Thomas Jefferson Essay Competition is an endowed essay contest created in 1997 when Carret, a longtime New York investor, fell in love with Elon University after a visit to campus the previous year. Carret promoted the contest to have students reflect on the ideals and principles embodied in Thomas Jefferson's life and career.