Orations Week, 2023

In their orations, the seniors share with us the fruits of their leisurely study: the depth and breadth of their relevant knowledge, their careful and nuanced consideration of ideas, their argumentative rigor, confident organization, and rhetorically effective style. The orations are the culminating effort of the seniors’ training in the trivial arts, with each senior presiding over an hour of speech-making and question and answer, without a manuscript, on a topic they have been considering for at least the last six months. At the same time, we hope, this culmination also is a foreshadowing of the way our seniors will share with the world at large the common goods of truth and beauty in which they have immersed themselves these last four years.

In the introduction to this year’s “Senior Orations” booklet, Dean Kyle Washut remarks that “in one of the greatest moments of the school year, the College, as alma mater, puts her seniors on center stage; the faculty recede into the background, and the seniors, in anticipation of their graduation, are publicly presented as those appointed to serve as lights to the wider culture.”

This year’s presentations, which will be streaming on YouTube Live, cover topics as wide-ranging as Jill Cook’s Binary is Better: Why Intersex as a Third Sex is Biologically Unnecessary and Inaccurate to Peter Gedicks’s Listening with Beethoven to Some Variations on Nothing: A Look at the Relationship between Composers, Listeners, Music, and Silence to Charles Renouard’s Compete for the Imperishable Wreath: A Practical Exploration of Sports in Catholic Education. The week’s schedule and the complete list of thesis and oration topics is included in the following booklet, assembled and produced for the occasion by Dr. Michael Bolin.


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