Mary Pace Medal for Excellence In Philosophy

picture of mary pace medal


All graduating seniors are invited to submit papers for consideration in the competition for the Mary Pace Medal for Excellence in Philosophy. The Mary Pace Medal was founded by Reverend William Pace in memory of his mother, Mary Pace, to honor a graduating senior who has demonstrated, according to the criteria stated below, an understanding of and appreciation for philosophical inquiry. Students do not need to major or minor in Philosophy in order to qualify for this prestigious award.

To compete, three things must be done. One, complete three courses in philosophy by the end of the Fall semester in the year you are to graduate. Course work counts 10%. Students seeking the Gold Medal must maintain a 3.25 QPA overall as well as in Philosophy.

Two, write an essay of approximately four to eight pages. Essays count 50%. Use proper format, e.g. essay must be typed, double-spaced, title page with name, local address and phone number, and so on. Essays must be submitted to a faculty member of the philosophy program no later than February 1 of graduating year. A submitted essay may be a formal research paper or an informal creative essay, but it must present an argument supporting the student’s opinion on a significant philosophical subject. And it may be a paper that was submitted for a course and revised for the competition or one especially written for the competition. Essays must meet the objectives of the department as stated in the catalog, i.e., you should write a philosophical essay that is a clear, coherent exposition of a concept, problem or theory, which demonstrates the ability to analyze, evaluate and synthesize the matter discussed.

Three, participate as a finalist. To be eligible for an interview as a finalist, a student’s paper must receive an overall assessment as being above average by a majority of the philosophy faculty. Such participation involves an approximately 20 minute informal student-faculty discussion based on your essay and certain specific questions.

  1. What is philosophy? In the course of your answer be prepared to discuss at least two major areas of philosophy of your choosing (epistemology, ethics, metaphysics, etc.).
  2. What is the value of philosophy to you personally, and what role will philosophy have in your future?
  3. From your course work in philosophy, whom do you consider a great philosopher and why?
  4. What is a significant philosophical position you are convinced is correct? Come ready to explain and defend your conviction.
  5. Informal discussion, which counts 40%, will be conducted in a relaxed atmosphere. You will be notified regarding specific time and place.

Questions on the competition are available from Dr. Aaron Simmons at