Philosophy Major Wins Prestigious Paper Contest

by Andrea Speros, Public Relations Writer

Tommy Graves, a junior philosophy major from Delaware, Ohio, recently won the fourth annual Evangelical Philosophical Society (EPS) Midwest Region undergraduate student paper contest, marking the second time in three years the prestigious award has gone to a Cedarville University student.

The undergraduate student paper contest, held in conjunction with the EPS Midwest annual meeting, was hosted at Lincoln Christian University on March 8-9. Graves’ paper, “A Speculation on ‘Repetition’ and Atonement,” analyzes Soren Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous work “Repitition” as an indirect commentary on the Christian doctrine of the atonement.

According to Timothy Paul Erdel, chair of the Evangelical Philosophical Society Midwest Region, Graves’ paper “provided an unusually insightful reading and analysis.” The award was decided on the quality of the formal essay and the effectiveness of the student’s oral presentation and responses to scholarly questions from judges.

For his paper, Graves won the honor and title of the award in addition to a monetary prize.

Dr. Shawn Graves, assistant professor of philosophy at Cedarville University, said this award credits both Tommy and the Cedarville philosophy program.

“Tommy’s win primarily indicates that Tommy is an intellectually gifted and creative philosophy student,” Dr. Graves said. “His win also credits the Cedarville University philosophy program insofar as it indicates that the philosophy students are receiving an outstanding education.”

Erdel congratulated Cedarville, saying students of such caliber spoke highly of the philosophy program and faculty. Dr. Graves said the philosophy program is humbled by the chair of the contest committee’s positive assessment of the philosophy program and its current faculty. 

Tommy Graves said the win was a great honor and opportunity for him. “Beyond strengthening my applications for graduate school, it was also just a great experience to get to present a paper in front of a critical audience,” Tommy said. “I’m extremely grateful to the Evangelical Philosophical Society.”

Located in southwest Ohio, Cedarville University attracts 3,400 undergraduate, graduate and online students to more than 100 areas of study. Inspiring greatness for over 125 years, Cedarville is a Christ-centered learning community recognized nationally for rigorous academic programs, strong graduation and retention rates, accredited professional and health science offerings and leading student satisfaction ratings. Visit the University online at