Dr. Michael N. Compton Public Affairs Essay Contest

Fall 2019 contest info coming soon!  

Submission deadline will be October 20, 2019.   
Fall 2018 Winning Essay
Read Ms. Kimberly Korff's winning essay, The Power of Food in Social Unification.  Kimberly is a senior, majoring in Dietetics.
The Springfield Dream Center
A matching donation is provided on Ms. Korff's behalf to a charity or nonprofit of her choice.      

Picture features student essay winner, Kimberly Korff; Ms. Jody Dow, Director of Springfield Dream Center; Mr. Bob Reed and Larry Bradley of IDEAL; and members of MSU's Alpha Rho Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity, Sean Lynch, Zach Mueller and Easton Haase. 

2018 Printable Flyer  Fall semester 2018 will feature the fourth annual Dr. Michael N. Compton Public Affairs Essay Contest. The author(s) of the winning essay will receive a cash prize of $500, plus an additional $500 to be donated to the charity or non-profit organization of the winner’s choice, in their name. In addition, the winning work will be published on the MSU Public Affairs website.

The contest is sponsored by the Institute for Development of Ethics And Leadership—IDEAL. IDEAL is a non-profit organization established by the alumni of the Alpha Rho Chapter of Sigma Pi Fraternity at MSU with the mission to further the development of ethics and leadership in the men of the fraternity. Dr. Compton, a 1970 graduate of MSU, wanted IDEAL to support the Public Affairs mission of the University. He envisioned an essay contest as the vehicle for achieving that support. The conduct of the contest is a joint undertaking between the Alpha Rho Chapter, IDEAL, its alumni, and the faculty and staff of MSU.

Please direct questions regarding the contest to the Office of Public Affairs Support at 417-836-8832 or PublicAffairs@MissouriState.edu

Call for Submissions

Entries will be accepted beginning fall semester, 2018. This contest is open to full-time sophomore, junior and senior level Missouri State University undergraduate students attending on the Springfield campus. Essays will address the 2018-19 public affairs theme, Unity in Community. Submissions may address an individual aspect of the theme or the theme as a whole.

All submissions are kept anonymous during judging. Names will be removed and replaced with an identifier prior to being submitted to the judging committee. The winner will be formally announced and presented at the Public Affairs Convocation, November 5, 2018 at J.K. Hammons Hall for the Performing Arts.  


  • Essay must be the original work by the person submitting the essay.
  • Essays may be any length between 250 and 1500 words.
  • Submit a cover page that includes the following:
    • Your full name (kept anonymous during judging).
    • One to two sentence biographical statement about yourself, including your hometown.
    • List your academic year and interest of study or if declared, list your degree program and name of College.
    • What aspect of the theme your essay is addressing and the total word count.
    • The name of the charity or non-profit organization that you would choose to receive the cash award should you win the contest.
  • The judging committee will consider clarity, spelling, grammar, and mechanics, as well as the originality and compelling nature of idea(s).
  • Inclusion of evidence-based ideas is encouraged, but not required.

Entry Submission

  • Email your cover page and essay as one PDF document to PublicAffairs@MissouriState.edu
  • Deadline: Submissions must be emailed prior to midnight (11:59pm) on Sunday, October 14, 2018.

2018-19 Public Affairs Theme Description

Essays should address MSU’s 2018-19 public affairs theme, Unity in Community.  Submissions may focus on an individual aspect of the theme or the theme as a whole.

The theme of Missouri State University's Fall 2018 Public Affairs Conference, "Unity in Community," seeks to address divisive issues that concern our communities.  Not only the geographic areas where we live, but also the tribal, interpersonal, intellectual, and digital communities where we exist. While the idea of unity might seem distant and unattainable, at Missouri State, we affirm our inalienable constitutional rights.  We celebrate our diversity and champion the rights of those who hold differing or opposing views...continue reading