The Search for America's Top Gentleman

PHOTO The Network of enlightened Women (NeW) promotes education and leadership skills among culturally conservative women, but they want to recognize men as well.

Move over, college basketball. Now there's March Madness: Gentlemen's Edition.

Come spring each year, a college organization called the Network of enlightened Women (NeW) sets out to prove that chivalry is still alive on campus by organizing a "Gentlemen's Showcase."

"We're focusing on the positive things men are doing while making sure gentlemen don't become an endangered species," said Karin Agness, the founder and president of NeW, a national group that promotes education and leadership skills among culturally conservative women.

With more than a dozen men nominated from colleges and universities around the country, NeW's Gentlemen's Showcase is now down to the final six nominees competing to see who will be named "America's Gentlemen" tomorrow morning.

Voters are asked to visit the NeW Facebook page and "like" the man who best exemplifies gentlemanly behavior.

Jimmy Ragland, a contender from the University of Florida with 83 "likes" on Facebook, was nominated for thoughtful acts like leaving a sunflower on his girlfriend's scooter or bringing her colored pencils for an art exam. Adam Hall, a nominee from Kansas State University was nominated by his girlfriend Shelby Danielsen for being "a true gentleman." Danielson wrote, "He treats women with respect by opening doors, making sure they are back in their apartments safely and giving them flowers on a bad day."

But it's Bryant Condrey, a junior at Patrick Henry College in Purcellville, Va., and Matt Smalbach, a student at the University of South Florida, who are in the lead.

Condrey found out about his nomination only after his girlfriend Alyssa Richardson had submitted a video montage of photos showing Condrey presenting her with a rose, helping her with her coat, opening a door for her, and even pulling up to her home in a horse-drawn carriage.

"I didn't tell Bryant about his nomination before I submitted it because he is so modest and I wanted to surprise him with my heartfelt thank you for his chivalry," Richardson told

Competing To Be America's Top Gentleman

Condrey said he felt honored by the nomination.

"I didn't really think about … being honored for being a gentleman, I had always assumed this behavior was right and expected of men," said Condrey, a government major at Patrick Henry College.

He says the showcase is a great conversation-starter about chivalry as it exists -- or doesn't exist -- in today's culture.

When asked what distinguishes him in this competition, he said it's his "healthy view of man's proper role in society, in a family, and in church."

And it's not just about winning the title, Richardson says.

"More than simply recognizing one individual, it is refreshing to be honoring chivalry in our modern society where it is often overlooked."

Where Have All The Gentlemen Gone?

Agness founded NeW in her junior year at the University of Virginia in 2004. After a summer internship in Washington, D.C. with Senator Dick Lugar (R-Indiana), she began seeking an environment similar to the one she experienced on Capitol Hill.

"In Washington, I was surrounded by women right-of-center who wanted to talk about politics and policy and how it affected us as women," said Agness. "They were smart, ambitious and conservative women, and that is what I was looking for at UVA."

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