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Beginning in 1908, two Agricultural Stages in public speaking were given under the auspices of the Agricultural Association, with small prizes awarded by the college. In 1910, trustee Almon R. Eastman established the Eastman Stage, with a permanent endowment beginning in 1918. The Eastman Stage was held continually except in 1943 and 1944. The Farm Life Challenge Contest began in 1928 and was later renamed the Rice Debate Stage in honor of Professor James E. Rice. The Home Economics Stage in Public Speaking began in 1940. Later known as the Elsie Van Buren Rice Public Speaking Stage, it was sponsored by the Home Economics Club.