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Apply to be a Commencement Speaker

The College of Arts and Sciences is now accepting applications for the Spring 2021 Student Commencement Speaker.

Being chosen as a student commencement speaker is not only a recognition of a high-level of academic achievement, but also an opportunity to contribute to a ceremony that marks the significant achievements of the graduating class.

Students are eligible to apply if they meet both of the following criteria

  • Applied to graduate
  • Completed all degree requirements by May, 2021 
  • A competitive Grade Point Average of 3.5 or higher
  • Contributed to American University communities 
  • Participated in activities – internal or external

Application Process

  1. Apply no later than 5PM (EST) on February 28, 2021
  2. Draft of your 3-minute commencement speech
  3. Abstract (2-3 bullet points) that captures the dominant one or two ’key messages’
  4. A current resume 

A committee will review all submissions and select finalists to read their speeches before the committee. One undergraduate and graduate student speaker will be chosen to represent the student body at commencement.

Your proposed speech should reflect on your experience as a student at AU and what you take with you as you move into the next stage of your life. It should take no longer than three minutes to deliver. The selection is based on the speech which best reflects issues related to all our graduating students.

Serving as the student commencement speaker is one of the highest honors in the University. If you have any questions regarding this competition, please do not hesitate to contact Joo Hyun Lee at (

For examples of recent AU student commencement speakers, please refer to the past the spring 2019 graduate, and the spring 2019 undergraduate speakers. 

An AU student speaks at graduation