American University is seeking one undergraduate and one graduate student to speak at the Fall Commencement ceremony on Sunday, December 16, 2018. Eligible students must have graduated in August 2018 or have been cleared to graduate in December 2018.

Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Satisfaction of all degree requirements as of commencement date
  • Strong academic record 
  • Participation in extracurricular activities on and/or off campus
  • Professional experience through jobs and/or internships

Interested students should submit the following materials to Andrew Toczydlowski:

  • Resume
  • Brief statement explaining interest in being a speaker
  • One-page outline of your proposed speech (speeches should be no longer than 3 minutes)

Each document should be submitted as a PDF, saved as "lastname_firstname.pdf”. The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, October 15. 

A committee of representatives from each school and college, Office of Campus Life, and the President's Office will reivew applications and six students will be invited to audition. Selected finalists will be notified the first week of November and asked to submit a full, complete draft of their intended speech and will be required to audition the speech before the committee.

Questions about the process can be directed to Andrew Toczydlowski. Fall 2017 speaches are available as a reference.

Each school or college ceremony includes an address by a graduating student. The selection of the student speaker is coordinated within each school's dean's office. The process begins in early February. Speakers are announced by the dean's office in late March or early April.

If you would like to be considered as a student speaker, contact your dean's office.

Singer Auditions (Spring Only)

The Office of the President and the Department of Performing Arts seek five graduating seniors or graduate singers to sing the National Anthem at each of the five American University commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 11, and Sunday, May 12.

Auditions will take place on Wednesday, March 6, between 11 am and 2:30 pm in the Katzen Arts Center. To sign up for an audition slot, please contact Ashley Hunter in the Department of Performing Arts at Each singer will be assigned a five-minute audition. Students should come prepared to sing the full National Anthem, a capella and memorized, in a standard key comfortable for them (usually B-Flat, A-Flat, or G if necessary). Please bring a one page resume with contact information.

Students who are selected will be assigned to one ceremony, receive a complimentary cap and gown rental, and will be listed in the commencement program. We cannot guarantee that singers will be assigned to their own graduation ceremony. Anthem singers must be cleared to participate in the May commencement ceremonies and are required to wear the AU cap and gown. The Special Events office will brief the singers in the days prior to graduation.

University Awards (Spring Only)

See the University Awards website for additional information about the awards and criteria. The nomination process will begin in late January. Professors and advisers can nominate students, and students can also nominate themselves.