Decorated Commencement Cap

Student Speaker

One of the highest distinctions a student can receive is to be selected as the undergraduate student speaker for Commencement. It is a chance to represent Binghamton University by giving an address that inspires, encourages and reflects the vision and hopes of the Class of 2015. The address not only commemorates the event, but also gives a student the opportunity to pay tribute to those who have helped him/her along the way as well as tout the accomplishments of fellow graduates.

During the fall semester, only one graduating senior will be selected to give the address at the University Commencement to be held on Sunday, Dec. 20, 2015.


To be eligible, the student must:

  • be an undergraduate
  • be a summer 2015 graduate or a fall 2015 candidate
  • have good disciplinary standing at the University
  • demonstrate academic success
  • be an active participant in the University community (i.e., leadership position in club or organization, mentor on campus or in Greater Binghamton community, etc.)

Application requirements

Complete applications are due at noon Friday, Oct. 16. Note: Only complete applications will be considered.

  • Personal statement – include information about yourself as well as why you wish to represent your class at Commencement
  • Two letters of recommendation
    • Have each recommender email their recommendation to
    • Recommenders must be professors, administrators or staff members at Binghamton University
  • Résumé - a brief, one-page résumé that includes your school, major and any University activities
  • A complete first draft of the speech you would like to give at Commencement

Speech guidelines

  • The speech should be substantive, meaningful and entertaining.
  • The topic should be relevant to graduates, but should also address the general audience.
  • The address should inspire, encourage and reflect the vision and hopes of the Class of 2015.
  • Avoid bemoaning the world’s problems; instead speak of new goals and how the graduates will attain these goals.
  • Original content is required; this speech should be developed expressly for the Commencement ceremony.
  • Speech length should not exceed five minutes.

Phase I: Submit application materials

Friday, Oct. 16 by noon

The complete Student Speaker Application, with the application cover sheet, must be submitted no later than noon Friday, Oct. 16, to

Phase II: Application review

Monday, Oct. 19 – Friday, Oct. 23

The Student Speaker Application Committee will review all applications. Any incomplete applications will not be considered.

Phase III: Interviews and presentation

Monday, Oct. 26 – Friday, Oct. 30

A brief, 15-minute interview will be conducted with those candidates selected by the committee during Phase II of the process (application review). Upon completion of the interview, the student will be asked to give his/her prepared speech to the committee.

Phase IV: Selection

Friday, Nov. 6 after noon

All applicants will receive a decision via e-mail from

Phase V: Commencement speaker preparation

Monday, Nov. 9 – Sunday, Dec. 19

During this time, the selected speaker will work with the Commencement Office to prepare and finalize his/her speech. This includes a final review by the University’s Communications and Marketing Department, at least one mandatory rehearsal in the Public Speaking Lab and a final rehearsal in the Events Center.

Last Updated: 9/22/15