MacGregor Smith Speaking Competition

The MacGregor Smith Public Speaking Competition was founded by Professor Jack MacGregor Smith, who was the first professor of agricultural engineering and was a polished and entertaining speaker. This annual competition is a long-standing tradition that has been hosted by the Agriculture Club since 1931.

2024 Competition

February 8, 2024  

The topic for the 2024 competition was:
  • Which emerging technology do you believe will be widespread in your industry 10 years from now?

Each student presented a 5-minute persuasive speech in a presentation style of their choosing. Visual elements such as PowerPoint presentations or photographs were welcome, but optional components. Audience members were invited to ask presenters up to three minutes of questions.

A panel of judges evaluated competitors in the following categories:

  • Organization (introduction, body, conclusion, logical flow of ideas)
  • Utilization of time (within 5-minute limit)
  • Ability to convey emotion, passion, or excitement about topic, knowledgeable about topic
  • Clarity of speech (volume, tone, speed, enunciation, inflection)
  • Appropriate use of gestures, non-verbal messages, and eye contact
  • Audience engagement (questions from audience, response to questions)


The top 3 speeches received prizes:

  • 1st place: $800

  • 2nd place: $500

  • 3rd place: $300


All current ALES undergraduate students were eligible to enter and compete. Everyone is welcome to watch from the audience!