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Graduation Student Speaker Selection

Reflections & Celebrations

Graduating seniors from the School of Arts and Sciences, Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and the Robins School of Business are invited to submit personal speeches to be considered for ceremonies during Commencement Weekend (e.g. Candlelight, Commencement).

Who is eligible?

The selection process is open to graduating seniors from the School of Arts and Sciences, the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, and the Robins School of Business

When are speeches due?

Speeches should be emailed to involved@richmond.edu no later than the submission deadline of Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 5PM. Submissions must be in Microsoft Word and MLA format and include your name, address, cell phone number, email address, and the school from which your degree is being conferred on the first page of your speech.

What are the guidelines for student speakers?

LENGTH

Speech must be between 3 and 4 minutes. Speeches longer than 4 minutes will be disqualified.

THEME

The 2021 theme has been created to provide context and ideas for speech development. While inclusion of the theme is not mandated, it is recommended.The theme is "Reflections & Celebrations."

CONTENT

Speeches should present a message that is significant and appropriate for graduation weekend. The speech may have a meaningful and reflective tone.

DELIVERY

Speaker should be able to deliver the address with appropriate use of voice, posture, action, and eye contact with the audience. Use of the Speech Center for consultation and practice prior to the presentation is highly recommended.

LANGUAGE

Words should be suitable for oral presentation rather than for reading, as an essay, but the style should be consistent with the tone of other remarks made by those sharing the platform with the student speaker.

STRUCTURE

Ideas should be clearly organized with a theme or a set of readily identifiable points.

How does the selection process work?

All submissions will be reviewed by a faculty and staff panel. The top ten speeches will be presented before the panel on Wednesday, March 31st, 2021 from 4:45-7:00 p.m in location TBD or virtually via Zoom. Students selected for presentation will be given an opportunity to sign up for a specific time.

What if I'm selected to give a speech?

Those selected to give a speech must attend a practice session prior to graduation ceremonies.

Students selected for this honor are also required to consult and attend three practice sessions with a designated Speech Center consultant for content critique and presentation development. In addition, students must complete, agree, and sign a letter of presentation agreement if selected as an honored speaker.

What is the Reflections book?

Each year, in honor of those who submitted speeches, a compilation all of the speeches are entered into a booklet entitled “Reflections.” A copy of this book is given to each of these students and their families.

If you do not wish to have your speech included in “Reflections,” you must submit a signed statement to that effect along with your speech.

Graduation Speech Timeline

Wed. Mar 17     
Speeches Due to Alison Keller via Email (involved@richmond.edu)

Wed. Mar 31         
Speech Presentations

Fri. May 8      
Graduation Speech Practice

Sat. May 9
Candlelight

Sun. May 10
Commencement 

Staff Contact

The Center for Student Involvement
Alison Keller: abartel@richmond.edu
804-289-8505