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Commencement Student Speaker Selection

Creating a Lifelong Passion: The University of Richmond and Beyond

Each year 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.

All eligible speeches will be considered for the Candlelight and Commencement ceremonies.

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?

The deadline to submit is 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 20, 2018. Speeches should be emailed to Alison Keller, Director of the Center for Student Involvement, or dropped off in person at Tyler Haynes Commons 217.

Submissions must be in 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?


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


The 2018 theme has been created to provide context and ideas for speech development. While inclusion of the theme is not mandated, it is recommended. "Creating a Lifelong Passion: The University of Richmond and Beyond"


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


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.


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.


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 Monday, April 2nd from 4:45-7:00 p.m. 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 on Fri., May 11, 2018 at 4 p.m. in the Robins Center Arena.

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.

Staff Contact

Alison Keller
Director, Center for Student Involvement

Looking for another way to get involved?

Join the 2018 Graduation Committee

Any undergraduate student, who is not graduating, may assist in the preparations for Senior Celebration, Candlelight and Leadership Luncheon. Following the scheduled commitments, attend Commencement and see your friends walk across the stage!

Please complete the application by April 6, 2018.