Civility Essay Contest

Many have lamented the loss of civility and bipartisanship in our political and public realms. Name-calling, attack ads, deliberate mistruths, and even overt violence towards members of the press and political opponents are common features of our public life.

The Honors College at Westminster—whose curriculum is designed around constructive conversation and collaborative learning—sponsors an annual essay contest for Utah high school students who want to engage in conversation about how to restore civility and bipartisanship to our politics and public life.


All current Utah high school students are eligible for the essay contest.


The contest will be judged by a bipartisan panel of prominent Utah Republicans and Democrats.


  • $2,000 cash award for the best essay
  • $500 cash runner-up award

Award Ceremony

Winners will be recognized on Tuesday, March 19, at 7:00 p.m. at the Kim T. Adamson Lecture in International Studies. After the essay contest winners are recognized, the 2019 Adamson lecture will be delivered by James Dao, Op-Ed editor of The New York Times, who will discuss "Opinion Journalism in the Age of 'Fake News.'"

Ceremony Location

Vieve Gore Concert Hall in the Jewett Center for the Performing Arts
Westminster College
1840 South 1300 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84105

Enter the Contest

Essay Topic

Write an essay (600 words or less) that explores the role played by media in promoting or impeding civility in our political and civic discourse. In an age of twitter and “fake news,” what responsibility does the media have to encourage civility?

Essay Deadline

The deadline has passed. Check back in winter 2020 for new details.

Honors Students Discussing in Class

Learn More About Honors at Westminster

What if your classes were designed around the concept of helping you practice the habit of thinking? Of helping you develop an authentic writer’s voice so that—as Irish poet Seamus Heaney once remarked—your words have "the feel of you about them?" Of helping you challenge yourself to such a degree that you learn new things about yourself? If these questions appeal to you, then you’ve come to the right place.

Westminster’s Honors College offers a distinctive course of study for academically and intellectually prepared students who want to challenge themselves.

Learn More