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NOW OPEN! 2020 Moral Purpose Award Essay Competition, *deadline APRIL 26*

Kenan Moral Purpose AwardThe call for submissions to the 2020 Kenan Moral Purpose Award essay competition is now open, with a deadline of 11:59pm (EDT), SUNDAY, APRIL 26.

The Kenan Moral Purpose Award is given for the best undergraduate student essay on the role a liberal arts education plays in students’ exploration of the personal and social purposes by which to orient their future and the intellectual, emotional, and moral commitments that make for a full life.

One winner from Duke University will receive $1,000.


2020 Entry Guidelines

This contest is open to currently enrolled full-time undergraduate students at Duke University (short-term or exchange students are not eligible). Essays of between 500-800 words should address either or both of the following questions:

  • In what ways have your core beliefs and larger aims been tested, transformed, or confirmed during your time in college?
  • How have you had to defend or challenge prevailing ideas, social norms or institutions and what lessons have you learned from doing so?

Essays should be submitted by email as a Word or PDF attachment to Amber Díaz Pearson (amber.diaz@duke.edu) by 11:59pm (EDT), SUNDAY, APRIL 26.


2019 Award Winners

Duke senior Kimberly Perez and UNC-Chapel Hill senior Adesh Ranganna provided answers in their Kenan Moral Purpose Award-winning essays, given to the best student papers on the topic from the two schools. In her essay, “Knowledge is Power,” Perez reflected on how her coursework at Duke led her to both dig deeper into and reconsider questions of faith and religious belonging. Ranganna used his essay, “What Ignorance Reveals,” to explore how studying Rawls’ philosophy of justice changed his perspective on what makes public health interventions just and fair.

Kimberly Perez, T’19 (Major in International Comparative Studies with Minors in Chemistry and Global Health), “Knowledge is Power

Adesh Ranganna, UNC ’19 (Majors in Nutrition and Public Policy with a Minor in Chemistry), “What Ignorance Reveals