Sermons breathe life into the word and the world—
providing a “Bully Pulpit” to speak on today’s most important and critical issues.

Drawing on scriptural sources, they apply timeless wisdom to today’s challenges and problems. For decades, Harold I. Saperstein ’31’s sermons stirred people from the pulpit.

This year’s contest honors that tradition,

Students should prepare and deliver a sermon of twelve to eighteen minutes (6-8 written pages) using the following guidelines:
All Sermons presented for the Contest will be video recorded.  After being used by the judges in their deliberations, the videos will be placed in the Cornell Archives.

A.  The sermons should include a scriptural source including but not limited to those listed below.

B.  Sermons should include a few words on Harold I. Saperstein '31 specifically his views on social justice, fairness and individual responsibility.

C.  Sermons should point to the issues facing sexual ethics today.

D.  Sermons should include some of the accomplishments of our honoree, Elizabeth "Beth" Garrett.

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.

Contest Suggestions

The Honoree - Elizabeth "Beth" Garrett, Cornell's 1st Woman and 13th University President

President Garrett was actively involved in campus issues, working to ameliorate housing problems for graduate students, approved the opening of Anabel's Grocery, rearranging Day Hall leadership and defending freedom of speech on campus.  President Garrett frequently expressed her support for students and faculty.

Her legacies at Cornell include:
1. Spearheading an effort to group Cornell's three accredited business programs into the College of Business.

2. Obtained the USC Shoah Foundations Visible History Archives, to be housed in Cornell's library for the Cornell community and beyond to access. Robert Katz `69, Cornell trustee emeritus and former board chair of the USC Shoah Archives noted Cornell's library as "a technological leader and this kind of digital historiography was a logical fit."  Anne R. Kenney, the Carl A. Kroch University Librarian: "This collection offers incredible first hand testimonials of the effects of mass genocide campaigns on the survivors." 

Elizabeth Garrett is the second Cornell President to be honored in the Saperstein Sermon Contest.

Overall Sermon Themes

Individual responsibility, fairness, and social justice.

Optional Readings and Sources

Content is Key!

Judges will reward sermons that distinguish themselves with their creativity, originality, and relevance. They will consider presentation style as a secondary factor.