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Competitive Prize Contests

The Lipson Program
George Morey Richardson Latin Translation Prize
Jeanne P. Steager Memorial Prize in Folklore
Philo Sherman Bennett Prize in Political Science
Owen D. Young Prize in International Relations
Thomas G. Rosenmeyer Greek Translation Prize
Dorothy Rosenburg Memorial Prize in Lyric Poetry
Elizabeth Mills Crothers Prize in Literary Composition
Emily Chamberlain Cook Prize in Poetry
Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller Essay Prize in Philosophy
Joan Lee Yang Memorial Poetry Prize
Julia Keith Shrout Short Story Prize
Nicola de Lorenzo Prize in Music Composition
Roselyn Schneider Eisner Prizes
Academy of American Poets Prize
Samuel C. Irving Prize for American Wit and Humor
Anne and Benjamin Goor Prize in Jewish Studies
Florence Mason Palmer Prize
Ina Coolbirth Memorial Poetry Prize
Lili Fabilli and Eric Hoffer Essay Prize

 

The Prizes Program at UC Berkeley (prizes@berkeley.edu) is an important forum for rewarding creative expression and scholarly achievement by Berkeley’s finest students. Winners receive both recognition and a cash prize, which is coordinated with the winner’s financial aid package.

Below you will find all of Berkeley’s Prize contests. Please note the criteria of each contest before entering.

Note: Prize contest entries need to be submitted in person to 210 Sproul Hall before 4 p.m. on the contest deadline (listed on the chart below). See the General Rules for Competitive Prizes for complete submission information. Please click on the contest names below for specific details about each prize.

The Lipson Program

The Leslie Lipson Program at UC Berkeley is intended to encourage undergraduate students to study humanistic values and their practical application for individuals, societies, and states.

The program consists of the Lipson Essay Prize, the Lipson Scholarship, and the Lipson Research Grant.

Leslie Lipson Biography. The Leslie Lipson Program is endowed in memory of Professor Leslie Lipson, who taught political theory and comparative government at Berkeley for 33 years. As a professor, Lipson’s first love was the undergraduate curriculum, and undergraduate students twice selected him as the best teacher in the Department of Political Science. Berkeley honored Lipson in 1980 with the Berkeley Citation, for individuals of extraordinary achievement in their field who have given outstanding service to the campus. Lipson’s books include The Great Issues of Politics, which has been published in ten editions, translated into numerous foreign languages, and used in introductory political science courses across the country; and his seminal work, The Ethical Crises of Civilization, in which he analyzed the historical developments in world civilizations that have resulted in both better and worse ethical choices. “Humanistic values are the fundamental values of good and evil, right and wrong, just and unjust, as carried out by individuals and societies in service of or against humanity” (Leslie Lipson).

Lipson Essay Prize

The Leslie Lipson Program at UC Berkeley is intended to encourage undergraduate students to study humanistic values and their practical application for individuals, societies, and states. One component of the Leslie Lipson Program is the Lipson Essay Prize.

Eligible freshmen and sophomores are invited to submit an original, unpublished piece to the Lipson Essay Prize contest on one of the essay topics related to humanistic values. The essay topics for each year are selected by the Lipson Committee.

Eligibility

To be eligible for the Lipson Essay Prize, students need to be freshmen or sophomores and have a minimum 3.5 grade-point average (GPA). Students from any field of study are welcome to apply. Essays will be reviewed by the Lipson Committee, and the committee may award up to five prizes for winning essays.

Deadline

Submissions need to be submitted via our online submission form by March 19th, 2021 at 4 PM.

Lipson Scholarship

The Lipson Scholarship, established in 2001, is a full, two-year scholarship of up to $10,000 per year and is available to eligible students who submit winning essays for the Lipson Essay Prize.

To receive the Lipson Scholarship, students must win the Lipson Essay Prize and be a freshman or sophomore when they apply, with a minimum of a 3.5 grade-point average (GPA). The Lipson Scholarship will fund the costs of the scholars’ sophomore and junior years at UC Berkeley for those who apply as freshmen, and the costs of the scholars’ junior and senior years for those who apply as sophomores, based on their financial need as determined by the Financial Aid and Scholarships Office. Students who are Regents’ or Chancellor’s Scholars without financial need will receive a $1,000 honorary award in addition to the prize.

Scholars are expected to pursue at least two courses or seminars related to humanistic values, such as courses in the fields of ethics, political theory, history, sociology, or public policy, during the two-year period covered by the scholarship, under the guidance of their faculty mentors or advisors. In addition, scholars interested in enrolling in a Berkeley Summer Sessions course related to humanistic values may submit a request for Lipson funding for the course; please contact the Prizes and Honors Coordinator for more information.

Lipson Research Grant

The third component of the Lipson Program, which is optional, is the Lipson Research Grant (established in 2001).

Lipson Scholars who wish to do research in greater depth have the opportunity to apply for funds to support their own original research project. Scholars will undertake such projects during the summer. Scholars selected for the Lipson Research Grant will receive a $3,250 stipend for summer living expenses so that they may devote their time to their summer research project; an additional $250 will be awarded in the fall semester after the scholar submits a paper about his or her summer project. Lipson Research Grant recipients may decide to develop the paper further into an honors thesis, or even a graduate-level dissertation. Projects must relate to humanistic values and their implementation, and might, for example, address such topics as human rights issues, bio-ethics, the impact on developing societies of global capitalism, or environmental concerns in the 21st century. Students will receive further details about this research opportunity following their selection as Lipson Scholars. While the Lipson Research Grant is optional, it is an important part of the Lipson Program.

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George Morey Richardson Latin Translation Prize

The Richardson Latin Translation Prize is open to all UC Berkeley students. A first-place prize and second-place prize are awarded for the best translation of classical English into Ciceronian Latin.

History of the Prize: The Richardson Latin Translation Prize was established through the will of George Morey Richardson of Berkeley, dated May 16, 1896: “I give and devise to The Regents of the University of California, two lots or parcels of land, situated in Highland Trust, Oakland Township, Alameda County, State of California, to expend the income there or from the proceeds thereof, when sold, for an annual prize known as the ‘Richardson Latin Translation Prize,’ to be awarded to undergraduates (later to include graduate students) of the University of California for the best translation of classical English into Ciceronian Latin.” The prize was established in 1896.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

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Jeanne P. Steager Memorial Prize in Folklore

The Jeanne P. Steager Memorial Prize in Folklore is open to all UC Berkeley students of any department. This prize is awarded annually to a student who has made an outstanding contribution in folklore during the academic year.

The nature of the entry is not restricted; it may include papers based on library research, or field projects. Criteria for selection will include originality, excellence, and importance to the field of folklore. Graduate and undergraduate students may submit entries.

History of the Prize: A letter to Joseph R. Mixer from William G. Lockwood and William R. Bascom, Chairman of the Executive Committee Folklore Program, dated April 11, 1966, reads as follows: “Classmates and friends of the late Jeanne P. Steager have contributed funds to establish an award as a memorial to her—the Jeanne P. Steager Memorial Prize in Folklore. This is to consist of an annual prize of $50 taken from the income and principal of the collected funds submitted herewith and awarded to a student who has made an outstanding contribution in folklore during the academic year. It is our hope to ensure a perpetual prize in her name.” The prize was established in 1966.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

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Philo Sherman Bennett Prize in Political Science

The Philo Sherman Bennett Prize in Political Science is awarded for the best essay encompassing some aspect of politics other than international relations.

The prize is open to both graduates and undergraduates.

History of the Prize: Philo Sherman Bennett’s 1905 will stated: “I give and bequeath to Wm. J. Bryan of Lincoln the sum of ten thousand dollars ($10,000.00), in trust, however, to pay to twenty-five colleges or universities, to be selected by him, the sum of four hundred ($400.00) each, said sum of four hundred dollars ($400.00) to be invested by each college receiving the same and the annual proceeds used for a prize for the best essay discussing the principal of free government.”
The Regents Minutes of August 8, 1905 recite the following: “Mr. Wm. Jennings Bryan informed the University that he was glad to leave the decision by the college authorities the details of the Bennett Essay Prize…”

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadline is March 15, 2021 at 4 PM.

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Owen D. Young Prize in International Relations

The Owen D. Young Prize in International Relations is awarded for the best essay dealing with some aspect of international relations.

A minimum of 4,000 words is required with a maximum word limit of 5,000 words. Open to undergraduates only.

History of the Prize: From the Regents’ Minutes of October 10, 1933: “Mr. Owen D. Young delivered the Charter Day Address in Berkeley on March 24, 1930, returned to the Regents his honorarium as such speaker and in addition donated the sum of $250. This was intended to be used for three prizes … to undergraduate students registered in the colleges at Berkeley … who offered the best three essays on the topic, ‘What can a college student do to further good understanding among the nations and thereby promote peace?’ Mr. Young, on June 2, 1931, [amended] the conditions of this … contest, [whereby] the remainder of his donation, to wit, $900, be set up as a permanent fund, the income therefrom to be devoted to an annual prize for the best essay on some aspect of international relations. The Committee on Prizes is authorized to change the topic of the essay from time to time as they may see fit to do so.” The Owen D. Young Prize was established in 1958.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadline is March 15, 2021 at 4 PM.

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Thomas G. Rosenmeyer Greek Translation Prize

The Thomas G. Rosenmeyer Greek Translation Prize is awarded to a graduate or undergraduate for the best translation of classical English into an appropriate classical Greek style.

Appropriate styles include those of Plato and of the classical Attic orators, but other styles appropriate to the content are not excluded, such as the style of Herodotus, or even verse composition. The selection will normally be formal English prose and will be 350 to 500 words in length.

History of the Prize: The Rosenmeyer Prize was established in 1995.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.
Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors page for this prize’s deadline.

 

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Dorothy Rosenburg Memorial Prize in Lyric Poetry

The Dorothy Rosenberg Memorial Prize in Lyric Poetry will be awarded for composition of the best original unpublished lyric poem. Each entrant may submit only one poem; the length should not exceed thirty lines. A lyric poem is a poem that sings. It is usually quite short. When the poem is read aloud, it should inspire and delight by its heartfelt thought and feeling and the beauty of its language.

History of the Prize

When Dorothy Rosenberg died, her husband, Professor Marvin Rosenberg, established a fund to award this prize in her name.

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Elizabeth Mills Crothers Prize in Literary Composition

The Elizabeth Mills Crothers Prize in Literary Composition is awarded for excellence of composition in poetry, story writing, drama, or another field of literary composition. Judging is based on excellence of composition. Open to all graduate and undergraduate students.

History of the Prize

This fund was accepted by the Regents on August 13, 1929. The Corpus thereof, in the amount of $3,000, was, by Judge George E. Crothers, pursuant to an agreement dated October 13, 1921, between Judge Crothers and the late Maria Elizabeth Mills, transferred to Mrs. Mills for the support of a fellowship in music in Mills College. This agreement provided that upon the death of Mrs. Mills the fund should pass to the Regents to support the Elizabeth Mills Crothers Prize in Literary Composition at the University of California.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

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Emily Chamberlain Cook Prize in Poetry

The Emily Chamberlain Cook Prize in Poetry is awarded for the most outstanding single unpublished poem.

Both graduate and undergraduate students are free to write at any length, in any meter, and upon any subject. Up to four winners may be chosen at the judge’s discretion.

History of the Prize

Yale University Professor Albert S. Cook, formerly on the UC Berkeley faculty, endowed this prize with $1,000. As noted in the August 10, 1909, minutes of the Regents of the University of California, Professor Cook specified that “it is highly desirable” that the prize be awarded “for a poem which reflects honor upon the University, when viewed in the light of the best precedents furnished by England and this country.” Professor Cook further specified that “the University shall be free at any time to reprint the poem as it may choose.”

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

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Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller Essay Prize in Philosophy

The F.C.S. Schiller Essay Prize in Philosophy is open to all UC Berkeley graduate and undergraduate students of any department.

This prize is awarded for the best essay on a specified topic relating to the work of Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller. Submissions up to 10 pages will be accepted. This biennial contest is offered in even-numbered years.

History of the Prize

The F.C.S. Schiller Essay Prize in Philosophy was established by Mrs. Louise S. Schiller in memory of her husband, F.C.S. Schiller, to promote the study of his contribution to philosophy. The Prize was established in 1933.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

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Joan Lee Yang Memorial Poetry Prize

The Joan Lee Yang Memorial Poetry Prize is awarded for the best poem.

Both graduate and undergraduate students may apply.

History of the Prize

The Joan Lee Yang Memorial Poetry Prize was established in memory of Joan Lee Yang, who was a sophomore at UC Berkeley when she was killed in San Francisco while returning home from a bicycle ride in Golden Gate Park on Easter Sunday in 1969. A member of Mensa and Who’s Who of American High School Students in 1967-68, she was brilliant yet extremely modest. She loved music, mathematics, and cooking, and had developed a fierce love of poetry. Ms. Yang believed in nonviolence and advocated peaceful means of resolving disputes. In support of the Third World, she attended classes off-campus. Only 18 when she died, she lives forever in the hearts of her parents and sisters, her friends, and her teachers whom she trusted and respected affectionately.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

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Julia Keith Shrout Short Essay Prize

The Shrout Short Story Prize is awarded for the best short story by a graduate or undergraduate student at UC Berkeley.

History of the Prize

From the Regents’ Minutes, February 9, 1940: “The will of Julia Keith Shrout, a resident of Santa Clara County, California, contained the following bequest: ‘I intrust my lots 25 and 26 Inner Harbor Richmond to Ethyl Nugent for a memorial fund . . . to be used as the prize . . . each year for the best short story by any University of California student. The lots not to be sold until they bring twenty-five hundred dollars. The memorial fund to be the Oliver Porter Shrout, Morrison Earl Shrout, and Julia Keith Shrout fund.'”

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

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Nicola de Lorenzo Prize in Music Composition

The Nicola De Lorenzo Prize in Music Composition is awarded for the best original completed musical composition.

The prize competition is open to both graduate and undergraduate students of any major. The composition is required to be a piece composed during your matriculation at UC Berkeley. Submit a score and, if possible, a recording of the composition. For music that is not notated (such as fixed media pieces, improvised performances, and so on), submit a recording with a note about the work and why it is not notated. All entries need to be anonymous—your name should not appear on recordings or scores.

History of the Prize

The Nicola De Lorenzo Prize in Music Composition was established in 1958.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

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Roselyn Schneider Eisner Prizes

History of the Prize

In 1963, Samuel Marks established an endowment of $250,000 for the advancement of the arts on the Berkeley campus, in memory of his stepdaughter, Roselyn Schneider Eisner, an artist and sculptor. The Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on the Arts recommended the money be used to establish prizes in each of the Creative Arts.

Photo Imaging

The Eisner Prizes in Photo-Imaging are open to all UC Berkeley graduates and undergraduates of any major.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

Film and Video

The Eisner Prizes in Film and Video contest is open to both graduates and undergraduates in any department.

One to three films may be submitted, but the judges will only view up to 30 minutes of film for each applicant.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors page for this prize’s deadline.

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Academy of American Poets Prize

The Academy of American Poets Prize is open to all students of UC Berkeley in any department. This prize is awarded for the best poem or group of poems.

Awards are for one winner and one honorable mention. No prize money is awarded to authors whose submissions receive honorable mention, but they will receive a certificate from the Academy. The names of winners will be published in the Academy’s newsletter.

History of the Prize

In 1979, Dr. Rae Ballard of Pasadena chose to sponsor The American Academy of Poets College Prize at Berkeley for several years as “The Galbraith Memorial Poetry Prize.” Dr. Ballard wrote, “I was a graduate student and teaching assistant [at Berkeley] many years ago, receiving my Master’s Degree in the early ‘fifties… My interest in the prize itself was because of its encouragement of young writers.” In 1996, The Academy, in conjunction with the New Hope Foundation for the Harold Taylor Fund, established a permanent endowment for The Academic of American Poets Prize at Berkeley. Harold Taylor, who died in 1993, was an avid reader of poetry, a devoted activist, and a progressive educator. His many years of service to these causes included time as president of Sarah Lawrence College, chairman of the Peace Research Institute and National Research Council on Peace Strategy, president of the American Ballet Theater, and coordinator for the Lenore Marshall/Nation Poetry Prize.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors page for this prize’s deadline.

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Samuel C. Irving Prize for American Wit and Humor

The Samuel C. Irving Prize for American Wit and Humor is awarded for the best anecdote, story, poem, drawing, or play illustrative of American wit and humor.

Both graduates and undergraduates may apply.

History of the Prize

The Regents’ Minutes of September 12, 1911, note acceptance of the following gift:
In a letter to the UC President Mr. Irving stated:

“Through you, I give to the University of California five bonds of the Bohemian Club, from the income of which I desire an annual prize to be awarded to a member of the student body for the best anecdote, story, poem or drawing illustrative of American wit and humor. I do this to encourage sunshine in our daily life.”

In a letter to the Chair of the Committee on Prizes, Samuel C. Irving’s son, Livingston G. Irving stated:

“It was with pleasure that I received your letter of 22 June, 1957 informing me that Mathew Palmer Mitchell was the winner of the Irving Prize for American Wit and Humor for 1956–57.”

“The origin of the prize was a somewhat facetious letter I had written my Dad, Samuel C. Irving, U.C. 1879, while he was attending the High Jinks at the Bohemian Grove on the Russian River in 1914. He read the letter to a group around the camp-fire in the evening and the inspiration for the prize was born.”

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors page for this prize’s deadline.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

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Anne and Benjamin Goor Prize in Jewish Studies

The Anne and Benjamin Goor Prize in Jewish Studies is awarded annually to two graduate and two undergraduate students for essays on research in any area of Jewish Studies.

Creative works are not eligible. The essays must have been written after the previous year’s submission deadline and must have been written while the authors are registered students in good standing at UC Berkeley. For those years in which one or more prizes are not awarded, the prize money shall be made available for prize augmentation or additional prizes in another year, as recommended by the judges. There may be no more than two winning submissions by a single student.

History of the Prize

The Benjamin Goor Prize in Jewish Studies was established in 1977 in memory of Benjamin Goor by his wife, Anne, to support programs and research in Jewish Studies. In 2005, upon the occasion of Anne’s death, the prize was renamed the Anne and Benjamin Goor Prize in Jewish Studies. Anne and Benjamin Goor were an integral part of the Jewish community in Phoenix, during and after World War II. During the war, their home was a kosher Shabbat and Passover haven for servicemen stationed at nearby bases. Anne was active in synagogue activities, B’nai B’rith Women, and Hadassah, serving as chapter president. She received many awards for her contributions to these organizations.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

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Florence Mason Palmer Prize

The Florence Mason Palmer Memorial Prize is awarded for the best essay of up to 5,000 words dealing with some aspect of international relations.

Open to women undergraduates only.

History of the Prize

Established in 1958.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadline is March 15, 2021 at 4 PM.

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Ina Coolbirth Memorial Poetry Prize

The Ina Coolbrith Memorial Poetry Prize is awarded for the best unpublished poem or group of poems by an undergraduate student at University of California campuses, University of the Pacific, Mills College, Stanford University, Santa Clara University, and St. Mary’s College.

Each participating school may submit three entries to UC Berkeley to compete in the overall contest. For information regarding the submission instructions for other campuses, read Information for Other Participating Campuses below.

History of the Prize

On March 18, 1933, a fund of $1,000 contributed by various donors was offered to the Regents for a poetry prize in memory of Ina Coolbrith, Poet Laureate of the State of California. The Ina Coolbrith Memorial Fund was accepted by the Regents on May 11, 1933.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes (for Berkeley students).

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

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Lili Fabili and Eric Hoffer Essay Prize

The Lili Fabilli and Eric Hoffer Essay Prize is awarded for the best essays of 500 words or fewer on a topic chosen by the Committee on Prizes.

The contest is open to students, faculty, and staff of the UC Berkeley campus of the University of California. Prizes awarded to faculty and staff are paid through the Berkeley payroll system and taxes are taken out of the disbursement.

Please review the General Rules for Competitive Prizes.

Contest deadlines vary. Please check the Prizes and Honors home page for this prize’s deadline.

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