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 Women today.

D.  Sermons should include some of the accomplishments of our unsung heroine Elizabeth Ellsworth Cook.

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 Ellsworth Cook, Class of 1908

  1. Phi Beta Kappa
  2. Suffragist
  3. Wall Street employee who mentored many young women.

You may wish to consider these areas: Women's impact on the World.

Genesis Chapters One and Two

  1. Women’s equality gap as a tax on opportunity.
  2. Are we closing the gender gap?
  3. What are the challenges ahead for women in business today?
  4. How can women adapt into a collaboration model of leadership?
  5. Has the "glass ceiling" been shattered convincingly?
  6. The impact of a female leader.
  7. The pay divides in American business.
  8. Crossing gender barriers.
  9. Why are there more law degrees for women, but fewer good jobs?
  10. Gender equality and women's empowerment.
  11. More women are winning CEO jobs.
  12. Do flexible working hours play a role?

Scriptural Sources: Select passages and women from the Hebrew Bible.
Ruth (the Moabite)
Devorah (the Judge)
Queen Esther

1-11, The Daughters of Zelophehad
19, ..teach the children (working)
the last 22 verses.

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.