Commencement speakers

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

During the spring semester, two Watson undergraduate graduating seniors will be selected to address their classmates at the 2023 Commencement ceremony.


  • Be a spring 2023 Watson College undergraduate candidate 
  • Be in good disciplinary standing at the University
  • Demonstrate academic success
  • Be an active participant in the University community

Application requirements

Complete applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, 2023, via email to Stacey Brown at Only applications that are 100 percent complete will be considered.

Items that must be submitted

  • Personal statement – include information about yourself as well as why you wish to represent your class as the Commencement student speaker
  • Résumé - a brief résumé that includes your school, major, and any University activities
  • A complete draft of the speech (no more than 4 minutes) that you would like to give at the Commencement Ceremony
  • Two names of references including contact information. References must be professors, administrators or staff members at Binghamton University

Selection process and deadlines

Phase I: Submit application materials by 11:59 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, 2023

Phase II: Application review - Feb. 27 through March 3, 2023
The Watson Commencement Committee will review all applications.

Phase III: Interviews and Presentations - to be completed by March 10, 2023
A brief, 15-minute virtual interview will be conducted with candidates selected by the committee during Phase II (application review). During the interview, the student will be asked to give their prepared speech to the committee. 

Phase IV: Selection - March 10, 2023
All applicants will receive the committee's decision via email by Monday, March 13, 2023.

Phase V: The two selected undergraduate student speakers will work closely with the Commencement Office to finalize their speech. This includes practice in the speaking lab (as needed), rehearsal in the Events Center and a final review by the University’s Communications and Marketing Department. Each student will also have a professional headshot taken to be used for publicity. 

Please direct questions to Stacey Brown at