young woman wearing graduation regalia speaking at a UB podium.

Student Speaker Selection Process

All interested students are encouraged to apply to be our Student Speaker at the 2024 Commencement Ceremony!

To be eligible, students interested in delivering the commencement address must meet the below criteria:

  • Have completed, or be on track to complete, all requirements for graduation.
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing.
  • Commit to attend and participate fully in the student speaker rehearsal (May 1st) and the commencement ceremony (May 19th). 

Student Speaker Selection Committee

  • Students TBD
  • Jamila Lee (Staff)
  • Ashley Abbott (Staff)
  • Lindsay Gladney (Staff)
  • Lisa Mueller (Staff)

On This Page

Application Requirements and Expectations:

  • Your speech should be 3-5 minutes in length. Submitted by one person. No groups included.
  • Prepare a draft of your speech. Your draft doesn’t need to be in final form. It should, however, sufficiently convey the tone and content of your speech.
  • The student speaker will be chosen based on speech content and presentation skills. Content should be celebratory, respectful, and inspirational and should not include inflammatory, and/or derogatory comments.
  • Prepare a video of your speech demonstrating your presentation style.
  • Submit your application here. Please know that your submissions are private.

Please note, the University reserves the right to edit the selected student speaker content.


The speaker will be evaluated based on:

  • Speech content (clarity, introduction, body, conclusion)
  • Presentation skills (tone, body language, eye contact, use of language)
  • Relatability of the content to your peers, faculty, family, friends and staff who may have supported you during your journey

The selection committee will rate each student using a rubric. Candidates who are invited as a finalist to audition should attend with a final version of their speech and be ready to give the speech as if presenting at the actual commencement ceremony.

If you are selected to be the student speaker, you will be seated on stage during the ceremony, have your name printed in the program, and be eligible to receive special, reserved seating for your guests.

Important Dates:

  • Tuesday, March 5, 11:59 p.m. - Student speaker selection committee Deadline
  • Wednesday, March 6, 12:00 p.m. - O’Brian Hall Lobby - Student Speaker Selection Committee Drawing
  • Wednesday, March 13, 11:59 p.m. - Application Deadline
  • Friday, March 29, 11:59 p.m. - Top 3 candidates’ Names Due  
  • Wednesday, April 3, 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. - Live Auditions
  • Thursday, April 4- Student Speaker Deliberations
  • Monday, April 8 - Student Speaker Announcement
  • Wednesday, May 1 - Student Speaker Rehearsal

Student Speaker Application

The application opens on Monday, February 5, and closes Wednesday, March 13.

Email any questions or concerns to: