Leadership Development

Student Commencement Speakers

  • Interested in applying to be a 2014 Student Commencement Speaker? Share your experience and insights, inspire your fellow graduates, and leave a legacy at Seattle University. To apply, please review the following information for an overview, timeline, and criteria.The deadline to apply is Thursday, April 10th, 2014.


    Thursday, April 10th: Applications due to Leadership Development no later than 4:00pm

    Email: lead@seattleu.edu  |  Office: Pavilion 150  |  NO FAXES

    • Complete either the Undergraduate Speaker Application or Graduate Speaker Application.
    • Applications must include an outline or complete script of your speech to be considered. Speeches should be no longer than 4 minutes when delivered. Our hope is to give you the maximum opportunity to be selected by fully expressing the thoughts you would deliver at Commencement and to prepare you to be successful in giving your speech if selected for an audition. Candidates who have developed their thoughts more fully are generally more successful. View a sample outline.
    • All applicants must meet a minimum G.P.A. requirement of 2.5 for undergraduate students 3.0 for graduate students.
    • All applicants must be in good judicial standing.

    Monday, April 21st: Finalists Notified & Invited to Sign Up for Auditions

    • All applications will be reviewed by members of the Selection Committee, who will choose up to six finalists to audition.

    Thursday, May 1st: Speaker Auditions (Undergraduate: 11:30am - 1:00pm  |  Graduate: 2:30pm - 4:00pm)

    • Auditions consist of delivering your speech to the selection committee, as well as short interview questions.
    • Audition time slots are 15 minutes long.
    • The committee will be seeking speakers that best fit the following criteria:
      • A message that suits the occasion: Does it suit the dignity of graduation? Does it relate to our Jesuit values? Does it convey a message that is intriguing, challenging and/or motivational? Is there a balance of personal story and a message intended for the larger audience?
      • A speaker who delivers the speech well: Is the speaker well prepared? Does she or he use voice, gestures and words effectively? Is the speech ready, or close to ready, to be presented or will it need significant work?
      • A speaker with presence: Is the speaker engaging? Will she or he have stage presence in a venue as large as Key Arena? Does she or he connect with the audience?
    • The final selection will be made after all finalists have auditioned.

    Friday, May 2nd: Finalists Notified

    • The selected speakers will begin working with a faculty/staff coach to refine the speech with notes from the Selection Committee and polish delivery.
    • The selected speaker will be asked to submit biographical information to be used in press releases and the introduction at the Commencement Ceremony.

    Tuesday, May 20th: Speakers Announced at Student Recognition Awards

    • The speakers will be announced and introduced at the Student Recognition Awards on Tuesday, May 21st.
    • Although attendance is not required of the selected student speakers, it is highly encouraged.
    • This is the first announcement to the SU community of who the student speaker will be.

    Thursday, June 5th: Final Presentation of Speech to Selection Committee

    • Once selected, we will work with the speaker's schedule to find a time when most selection committee members can attend to hear a final presentation of the speech for final approval.
    • The committee may give final notes on which to work with the coach prior to Commencement.

    Sunday, June 15th: Commencement Ceremonies

    Undergraduate Students:

    • Ceremony begins at 9:30am.
    • Speaker should plan to arrive no later than 7:30am for final sound check.

    Graduate Students:

    • Ceremony begins at 3:00pm.
    • Speaker should plan to arrive no later than 1:30pm for final sound check.

    For more information on Commencement 2014, please visit the general Commencement website.
  • Contact Us

    Leadership Development
    PAVL 150
    901 12th Ave
    P.O. Box 222000
    Seattle, WA 98122

    Email  lead@seattleu.edu
    Telephone 206.296.5323 (LEAD)
    Fax 206.296.2577