Awards gala

This year's Awards Gala will take place Sunday, March 17, 2019. Warren Hall. .

A reception at 5:00pm will follow with a special guest speaker. The event will conclude by 8:00pm. 

All contest participants will receive an invitation to the Awards Gala. 

The contest winner will give their winning sermon at the Gala, so they should bring all the material they need to give the sermon to the Gala.  The winner will not know who they are until the public announcement at the Gala, so all contestants should be prepare to give their sermon.

First Prize: $1800 and private tour of The Explorer’s Club in New York City

Second Prize: Cornell gift item and private tour of The Explorer’s Club in New York City

Third Prize: Cornell gift item

Keynote Speaker


more info. coming!

Previous Awards and Honorees

The 2014 Gala Dinner

The 2014 Gala Dinner

2014: in tribute to Hon. Raymond ("Ray") Reisler '27

Grand Prize: Kirat Singh, A&S '14

2nd Place: Joshua Polevoy, ILR ’14

3rd Place: Christine Yu, ILR ’14

Invited Speakers: 

  • Rabbi David Saperstein ‘67, Director, Religious Action Center Reform Judaism
    & son of Harold I. Saperstein ‘31

  • Brian Earle ‘67, Professor Emeritus, Communication CALS

  • Andrew Ahitow, Supreme Prior, Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity

  • Rear Admiral Margaret Grun Kibben, CHC, USM
    Chief Chaplain of US Marine Corps. and the first female chaplain to hold this post.

  • Alan H. Nichols, JD, DS, President of the Explorers Club
    A noted explorer in Tibet, China and the world’s sacred mountains, Mr. Nichols spoke on the theme of “Justice in Exploration”.

  • Hon. Katrina Lantos-Swett, Vice Chair of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom, as well as the Founder and President of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice. Dr. Lantos-Swett spoke about religious freedom.

  • Dr. Tevi Troy, ‘89, A top Washington insider and Presidential historian, Dr. Tevi Troy ‘89 elaborated on a recent Wall Street Journal article, showing how Abraham Lincoln’s diligent reading of the bible informed the Gettysburg Address.

  • Dr. Raymond Reisler ‘68, MA ‘70, Ed.D
    Son of Ray Reisler ‘27 & former Executive Director of the S. Mark Taper Foundation

View photos from the 2014 Gala >

2013: in tribute to Hon. Sol M. Linowitz, J.D. '38

Grand Prize: Darrick Evensen, PhDc

Darrick Evensen's winning sermon applied halakhic inspiration to the contemporary hydraulic fracturing controversy.

Invited Speaker: David Schribman

Executive Editor, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

View photos from the 2013 Gala >

2012: in tribute to Milton R. Konvitz

Read full coverage in the The Jewish Week.

Grand Prize: Sarah Victor (ILR '13)

Sarah Victor's winning sermon related the dedication of America's founders to the biblical heroine Esther, seamlessly integrating contest themes.

Invited Speaker: Dr. Alfred C. Snider

Dr. Snider spoke about sermons as an example of replacing weapons with words.

View photos from 2012  >

2011: in tribute to Harold I. Saperstein '31

Grand Prize: Matthew Scheff (ENG '12)

Matthew Scheff delivered his sermon on the concept of love in holy scripture and the Jewish tradition, centered on a reading from Shir Hashirim, also known as Song of Songs, or Song of Solomon.

View more photos from 2011  >