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The Fulton Prize

fulton debating society

In the early years of the Fulton Debating Society, before the College moved to Chestnut Hill, one of the highlights of the academic year was the annual prize debate. The first of these debates was held in 1890, and the debate has remained a Boston College tradition for more than 100 years.

When University Hall (now Gasson Hall) was dedicated in 1913, a special room on the third floor was dedicated to the Society. The ceiling of the room forms a Gothic arch, reflecting the building's architecture. The sloping ceilings on either side were, fittingly, adorned with six examples of or tributes to oratory: in Greek by Demosthenes, in Latin by Cicero, in Jerome's Latin rendition of St. Paul, in Italian by Paolo Segneri, S.J., in French by Louis Bourdaloue, S.J., and by Daniel Webster. Three of the quotations are from secular and three from sacred eloquence. From the vantage of the platform in the Fulton room the quotations from Cicero, Webster, and Demosthenes are on the left wall and those from Segneri, St. Paul, and Bourdaloue on the right.

The list of Fulton Medal Winners on the wall of the Fulton room contains the names of many great and some legendary Boston College graduates. Some standouts are Monsignor Michael J. Splaine, 1896, a revered churchman; Henry Foley, 1921, founder of a distinguished Boston law firm; James M. Curley, Jr., 1928, son of Boston's mayor, whose prospects were cut short by an early death; John J. Wright, 1931, later bishop and cardinal, possibly the quickest and wittiest debater in Fulton history; Lawrence J. Riley, 1936, a beloved auxiliary bishop of Boston; James J. Unger, 1963, long-time Director of Debate at Georgetown University; John J. Curtin, Jr., 1954, first Boston College alumnus and Law School Alumnus to be president of the American Bar Association; and Joseph M. McLaughlin, 1964 and 1965, a champion debater and master litigator. The first woman to win the Fulton Medal was Jane M. Osborne, 1973, an outstanding accomplishment in light of the fact that total coeduation had come to Boston College just three years earlier.

In the early years of debate at Boston College there were two separate debating societies--the Fulton Debating Society for upperclassmen and the Marquette Debating Society for underclassmen. The Societies functioned independently and each conducted a prize debate in the spring. While the Marquette become a part of the Fulton years ago, the Fulton remembers the Marquette Debating Society each year when it presents the historic Gargan Medal to the second best speaker in the Fulton Prize Debate.

Past winners of the Fulton Prize include:

2017   Sean MacDonald

2016   Sean MacDonald

2015   Sean MacDonald

2014   Alexander Tingle

2013   Sullivan McCormick

2012   Brendan Benedict

2011   Michael Maerowitz

2010   Brendan Benedict

2009   Gabriel Stacy

2008   Matthew Maerowitz

2007   Allen Best

2006   Allen Best

2005   Kevin Shatzkin

2004   Jeffrey Sullivan

2003   J. Ben Bireley

2002   Kevin Hartzell

2001   Kevin Hartzell

2000   Mario Powell

1999   Jared Fields

1998   Joshua Marmol

1997   Jennifer Kennedy

1996   Steve Bazyl

1995   Rebecca Kamp

1994   Wenyu Ho

1993   Dilip B. Paliath

1992   Robert P. Berry

1991   Darren Schwiebert

1990   Darren Schwiebert

1989   Christopher T. Gassett

1988   John I. Goodwin

1987   Michael Janas

1986   Michael Janas

1985   Susan M. Tardanico

1984   Richard Beck

1983   Thomas Grace

1982   Mark Milano

1981   Larry Supple

1980   Larry Supple

1979   Eric Woodbury

1978   John J. McGivney

1977   John J. McGivney

1976   Francis M. Lynch

1975   Michael Reilly

1974   H. Michael Tannert

1973   Jane Osborne McKnight

1972   Robert D. Baker

1971   Robert D. Baker

1970   Ronald Hoenig

1969   Mark Killenbeck

1968   David M. White

1967   David M. White

1966   Ronald K. Jerutis

1965   Joseph T. McLaughlin

1964   Joseph T. McLaughlin

1963   James J. Unger, Jr.

1962   William S. Abell, Jr.

1961   Kevin Byrne

1960   John H. McNealy

1959   Donald R. McKeon

1958   Francis E. Collins, Jr.

1957   Edward J. F. Thomas

1956   Edward J. F. Thomas

1955   Brian E. Concannon

1954   John J. Curtin, Jr.

1953   Roderick J. O'Neil

1952   Francis E. Dooley

1951   Donald W. White

1950   Lawrence E. Spellman

1949   E. Paul Kelly

1948   John T. Moore

1947   Maurice L. Paradis

1946   No debate (World War II)

1945   No debate (World War II)

1944   No debate (World War II)

1943   Joseph F. MacSweeney

1942   Joseph T. Nolan

1941   Thomas J. Finnegan

1940   Paul J. Greeley

1939   John F. X. Gaquin

1938   Francis E. Sullivan

1937   John F. Donelan

1936   Lawrence J. Riley

1935   Henry G. Beauregard

1934   John L. Roach

1933   Charles W. O’Brien

1932   Peter C. Quinn

1931   John J. Wright

1930   Edward A. Hogan, Jr.

1929   Leo P. O'Keefe

1928   James M. Curley, Jr.

1927   Thomas A. O'Keeffe

1926   Walter R. Morris

1925   Joseph M. Gavan

1924   Joseph A. Turnbull

1923   Owen A. Gallagher

1922   Francis E. Magennis

1921   Henry E. Foley

1920   Thomas F. McNamara

1919   Richard S. McShane

1918   Henry J. Gillen

1917   John J. Connolly

1916   Francis X. Quinn

1915   Edward A. McLaughlin, Jr.

1914   Edward A. Sullivan

1913   Leo M. Murray

1912   Francis A. Harrington

1911   Cornelius A. Guiney

1910   David B. Waters

1909   John P. Manning, Jr.

1908   James A. Coveney

1907   John T. O'Hare

1906   Andrew J. O'Brien

1905   Edward J. Campbell

1904   William T. Miller

1903   Philip F. Kennedy

1902   Joseph A. Lennon

1901   Daniel A. B. Foley

1900   Joseph L. Early Jr.

1899   John B. Doyle

1898   Thomas B. Jameson

1897   Francis J. Carney

1896   Michael J. Splaine

1895   John J. Kirby

1894   William L. Sullivan

1893   John J. Douglass

1892   Daniel J. Gallagher

1891   Joseph C. Pelletier

1890   William A. Murphy