Each spring, the Department of Rhetoric and Communication Studies and the Speech Center come together to host The Laureate, an awards ceremony that recognizes the University’s best orators, debaters and communication studies students. Speech consultants are also honored.

2007–2008 awards honored students in the following categories:

Leadership Award
Flemming Schneider Rhode
Given to a student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership both within the RHCS discipline and in the broader University community.Jamilah LeCruise

Keynote Speaker Award
Jamilah LeCruise
Given to a student who represents RHCS well and by invitation of the faculty, is asked to give the keynote address at The Laureate.

Undergraduate Research Award
Sarah-Tyler Moore
Recognition of outstanding achievement in undergraduate research

Academic Excellence Award
Mallory Huggins

Given to graduating seniors with a cumulative GPA of 3.6 or higher.

Caroline DeHaanLexicon Award
Caroline DeHaan
Given to an RHCS major in memory of Larry Witkos, an RHCS major who died of leukemia one week before he would have carried the mace at graduation, for “being someone Larry would have liked.” Larry is remembered for “The Lexicon,” a dictionary he wrote early in his Richmond career. Winners of this award receive a copy.

Brittany Robertson Loyalty Award
Ashley Nerz
Launched in 2007 to honor a student who has demonstrated outstanding service, commitment and dedication to the Speech Center. The award is named in honor of Brittany Robertson ’07, the first recipient.

Voice of the University Award
Shirley Woods, Director of Personal Development Program, Robins School of Business
Given to a faculty or staff member for being a “voice” that represents the University in an outstanding manner.

The Sully Speaks
Megan McNamara
This annual award recognizes the winner of a competition designed to “promote public speaking for the business world.”

Most Outstanding Debater
Ryan Smith, Joe Chicvak
Given to the most successful debater on the team, someone who consistently goes above and beyond both in performance and dedication to the team.

Most Improved Debater
James Farr, Ashley Fortner, Calie Dowdy
Given to a student who makes significant improvements over the course of one season, often significant enough to progress from one competition level to another.

Most Outstanding JV DebaterFlemming Schneider Rhode
Mycal Kelly
Given to a student or students who come to Richmond with minimal debate experience but do exceptionally well competing in the junior varsity circuit. 

Most Outstanding Novice Debater
Sarah Gehrke and Becca Young
Given to a student with no previous debate experience who makes vast improvements over the course of their first year.

Dr. David Thomas Coach’s Award
Flemming Schneider Rhode
Given to a student or students who exhibit a passion for the evaluation, generation and criticism of argument.

Researcher of the Year
Liz Lauzon
Given to a student who produces well laid out arguments with the best evidence possible.