Rachel George (BA '16) Receives Award in National West Wing Writers Commencement Speech Competition

August 4, 2016

George, who double-majored in English and Marketing, offered her commencement address at the campus ceremony in May. She capped her comments with the charge, "The world should be a better place because we are in it."

2016.08.04: George Receives Award in National West Wing Wrters Commencement Speech CompetitionView the complete address here. George was awarded second place.

Read more about the competition as described by its organizers below.

Announcing the Winners of the 2016 Mortarboard Award

West Wing Writers is pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Mortarboard Award for the best undergraduate student commencement speeches of 2016.
We received dozens of entries from institutions large and small, private and public, and all across the country. Mortarboard Award entrants included majors in subjects ranging from computer science to political science, and from English to engineering. Their speeches tackled issues from mental health and campus protests to what it means to be an adult. Collectively, the speeches provided a compelling snapshot of the Class of 2016: what they care about, what they’re nervous about, and what they wish for their fellow classmates and the world. West Wing Writers enjoyed reading each and every submission and we commend everyone who entered our contest for a job well done.  
This year’s winning commencement speech is “How Do We Want to Become?” by Sabrina Imbler of Brown University. Sabrina eloquently captured the climate on many campuses nationwide, as she reflected on how hard it can be “to look at someone or something we love so much and see how it could be different, how it could be better.” Her speech can be read here.
Taking second prize is Rachel George of University of Maryland for her speech, “Because We Were Here.” Rachel explored how easy it is to “become comfortable with comfort” and made a compelling case for uncomfortable action. Her speech can be seen here.
Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu of the University of Texas at Austin won third place for their original and very funny speech, “Two Dweebs Deliver a Commencement Address.”  Their speech can be seen here.
As winners of the 2016 Mortarboard Award, Sabrina will receive $1,000 for her first-place speech; Rachel will receive $500; and Xavier and Rohit will each receive $125.
Congratulations to all of the winners!
About West Wing Writers
‪West Wing Writers, LLC is a speechwriting and strategy firm founded by former White House speechwriters for President Bill Clinton. Headquartered in Washington, DC, West Wing Writers specializes in speeches, op-eds, books, and other strategic communications services for Fortune 500 companies and executives, leading nonprofit organizations, and global thought leaders.
About the Mortarboard Award
Celebrity commencement speeches often steal the spotlight, but it’s the student speeches—written by the leaders of tomorrow—that often display the most heart. In 2016, West Wing Writers launched the Mortarboard Award to recognize these students and their speeches. While different schools have various graduation events and multiple student speakers, all undergraduate student speakers are eligible to submit their speeches for consideration. For additional eligibility requirements, please see the official contest rules.