Student Commencement Speaker

Grand Valley holds four official Commencement ceremonies during the academic year; three ceremonies in April and one ceremony in December. A special honor is provided to a graduating student to address the University community during each Commencement ceremony. The selected speaker will add a student’s voice to address their peers, as well as university faculty and staff, honored guests and families during the ceremony. The comments will reflect on their experience at Grand Valley State University and how their graduating class will make a difference with their Laker Effect.


The application has closed.


Eligibility

Graduating students interested in delivering the Commencement comments must meet criteria to apply as a student speaker. The student must:

  • Be an eligible member of the graduating class (undergraduate, graduate, or doctoral).
  • Be in good academic and judicial standing.
  • Write their comments and work with a speech coach as designated by the University for the four weeks prior to the ceremony.
  • Arrive early to the ceremony for a stage rehearsal, and attend and participate fully in the Commencement ceremony on the date and time for which they are selected.

Submission Process:

Eligible and interested students are required to submit an online application and a link to a short video (max. 3 min.) with an introduction of themselves and their initial comments for selection committee review. Students will be vetted to ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements.

The deadline to submit applications and a video link has not yet been determined. 

Speech Guidelines

  • Tell the story of how your educational experience at GVSU helped to shape your life, your future profession, or your society/community.  Consider reflecting on your overall academic experience, co-curricular involvement, or service opportunities.
  • Keep themes broad as fellow students will graduate from more than one program and college.  Share common experiences and insights.
  • Inspire and encourage fellow graduates to carry the GVSU Laker Effect out into the world.
  • Comments are limited to no more than 3 minutes – this translates to approximately 400 words or two double-spaced, typed pages.

Selection Process:

The speakers will be selected by a committee through both an electronic and in-person application process held fall and winter semesters. The Selection Committee will review applications and select semi-finalists. Semi-finalists must be available to attend an in-person audition on Friday, March 29 to present their draft comments.

The committee will seek a diverse representation of GVSU students and consider the following when making their speaker selection:

  • Clarity of ideas
  • Appeal to a broad audience and common experience of Grand Valley students
  • Quality of speech content
  • Length of presentation
  • Extent to which the speech represents the Mission and Values of GVSU
  • Speaker’s delivery - well prepared, engaging, stage presence


Selected speaker(s) and applicants will be notified by the Office of the Provost.

Applicants will be reviewed using this Commencement Speaker rubric.



Page last modified May 3, 2019