OXFORD, Ohio – While Miami University sophomore Amanda Hancock was busy taking final exams this week, not to mention preparing for the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships this weekend, the distance runner on Miami’s track team was named the Grand Prize Winner of Miami University’s “Great Seal Writing Contest” on Wednesday.

Hancock’s essay entitled “We, On a Path to Wisdom” was chosen among 84 total entries in the contest, which originated in March after Miami President Dr. David Hodge invited Miami students to help write a piece of Miami history. The prompt for the contest was: As they pass the Great Seal in the Bicentennial Rotunda of the Armstrong Student Center, future generations will look for wisdom and wit in your words. In your Miami experience, what wisdom have you gained from the University’s heritage that you would like to pass on? In other words, what values, beliefs, and experiences connect “Old Miami” and “New Miami”?

A total of five students were chosen as winners with one from each class and Hancock as the overall winner. Twelve finalists (three from each class) were selected by a group of Miami faculty, staff and students from the 84 entries, which were due April 2. Students from each class then voted on their favorite essay among the three for their class, while Hancock’s piece was picked by the awards committee among the 12 finalists as the best of the bunch.

All of the essays submitted by students will be compiled in a book that will be housed in the Great Seal in the new Bicentennial Rotunda of the Armstrong Student Center, which is scheduled to open in February of 2014. Hancock’s winning essay will forever be displayed in the Great Seal as the book will be kept open to the pages with her work. The book on Miami’s Great Seal represents the accumulated wisdom passed on over time and this compilation of essays will now serve the same purpose, only written by Miami students. The Great Seal book will also be made available in a commemorative version.

In addition to having her essay displayed in the Armstrong Student Center, Hancock gets $2,000 in cash for being the Grand Prize Winner. The contest was sponsored by the Office of the President and the Howe Writing Center. To read Hancock’s winning essay, click here. Hancock is a journalism and English literature double major from Lexington, Ky.

With finals behind her and having already written her way into Miami history, literally, Hancock will now look to figuratively write her way into Miami’s record books when she runs the MAC 10,000m final on Thursday night at 7:45 p.m. in Akron, Ohio. Miami’s entire women’s track and field team will compete at the University of Akron Thursday to Saturday at the MAC Outdoor Championships.