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Become the Student Commencement Speaker

Students at the 2019 commencement ceremony.

Have the last line on your education as the student speaker for your commencement ceremony at D'Youville.

Every year students just like you take to the graduation stage and speak boldly and proudly to deliver a message of inspiration and encouragement, share common experiences and insights, and inspire their fellow graduates to carry the D’Youville tradition out into the world. D'Youville invites graduating students from the class of 2020 to be considered for this honor to self-nominate using the form on this page. One student will be chosen to deliver the student address.

Criteria for Eligibility

  • Be eligible for the December 2020 graduation
  • Be in good academic standing (cumulative GPA 2.5 minimum) and have not had any disciplinary actions while at D'Youville
  • Commit to attend and participate fully in the commencement ceremony, including a mandatory rehearsal

Submission Guidelines

Eligible and interested students must submit an online application using the form below. The application should include a one-page, double spaced script of the speech which you will upload as an attachment. Submissions will be evaluated on the following criteria: 

  1. Speech fits with D’Youville’s mission and values 
  2. Speech fits dignity of event 
  3. Message speaks to broad audience 
  4. Ideas are clearly articulated 

Deadline to Apply: November 13, 2020 

Apply to Be Student Speaker

Frequently Asked Questions

Who will be on the review committee at the audition?

A selection committee comprised of representatives from across the college will select a speaker that best reflects the vision and values of D’Youville.

What are the guidelines for the speech?

The speech should be about 3-5 minutes in length which translates to 400-600 words or 2-3 double-spaced, typed pages. Because you will be addressing a diverse audience of students from different schools, you should keep your message themes broad.

Will D'Youville help me write the final version of my speech?

Yes, the student will be paired with a coach who will help to refine the speech.

Other information?
  • Student speakers will submit a biographical sketch that will be included in the commencement program.
  • Due to COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions, the speech may be recorded.

Apply Today

Apply by November 13, 2020 to deliver the student address at commencement. One student will be selected for this honor.



For more information regarding student speaker selection, contact Dr. Lisa Rafalson at