Harpur College Commencement

Commencement Student Speaker Application

One of the highest distinctions a student can receive is to be selected to address your classmates. It is a chance to represent Binghamton University and Harpur College by sharing parting words that inspire, encourage and reflect the vision and hopes of the Class of 2023. The speeches not only commemorates the event, but also give students the opportunity to pay tribute to those who have helped them along the way as well as tout the accomplishments of fellow graduates.

During the Spring semester, three undergraduate graduating seniors will be selected to address their classmates at the 2023 Commencement Ceremonies. Students will be selected based upon their major(s) and the ceremony in which they fall. The breakdown of Harpur ceremonies can be found below. 

  • Africana Studies
  • Asian and Asian American Studies
  • Comparative Literature
  • English
  • German & Russian Studies
  • Individualized Major Program
  • Integrative Neuroscience
  • Judaic Studies
  • Medieval and Early Modern Studies
  • Middle Eastern & Ancient Mediterranean Studies
  • Physics
  • Psychology
  • Romance Languages
  • Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies


To be eligible, the student must:

  • Be a Fall 2022, Winter 2023, Spring 2023 or Summer 2023 graduate.

  • Be in 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 application materials are due at noon, Friday, February 24, 2023. Only submissions that are 100 percent complete will be considered. Requirements are:

  • Personal statement – include information about yourself as well as why you wish to be selected as a Commencement Student Speaker.

  • Résumé - a brief one-page résumé that includes your school, major and any University activities.

  • A complete FIRST draft of the speech you'd like to give at Commencement.

Submission of Application Materials

Click the button below to submit the following documents in PDF format:

  • Personal statement
  • Résumé
  • Speech

Submit your application

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 2023.

  • Speak of new goals and how the graduates will attain these goals; try to avoid bemoaning the world's problems.

  • Original content is required; this speech should be developed expressly for the Commencement ceremony.

  • It is often helpful to focus on two or three key points/messages you want to convey to the audience.

  • Speeches should not exceed 4 minutes.

Selection Process

  • Phase I: Submit Application Materials

    Friday, February 24 by noon

    The complete student speaker application, must be submitted no later than noon on Friday, February 24.

  • Phase II: Application Review

    Monday, February 27 – Friday, March 10, 2023

    Harpur College Commencement Committee will meet and review all applications. Please be aware, any incomplete applications will not be considered. 

  • Phase III: Interviews and Presentations

    Monday, March 13 – Friday, March 17, 2023

    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, March 17, 2023 by noon

    Applicants will receive the committee's decision via email no later than noon on Friday, March 17.

  • Phase V: Commencement Speaker Preparations

    Monday, March 20 – Friday, May 12, 2023

    During this time period, the selected speakers will work with the Commencement Office to prepare and finalize their speech. This includes a rehearsal in the Events Center with a final review by the University's Communications and Marketing department.