American University is seeking one undergraduate and one graduate student to speak at the Fall Commencement ceremony on Sunday, December 15, 2019. Eligible students must have graduated in August 2019, September 2019 or have been cleared to graduate in December 2019.

Candidates must meet the following criteria:

  • Satisfaction of all degree requirements as of commencement date
  • Competitive academic record 
  • Participation in university or school/college-focused extracurricular activities
  • 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
  • Outline of your proposed speech (speeches can be no longer than 3 minutes)

Each document should be separate and submitted as a PDF, with the file name of each document formatted as "lastname, firstname, documentname.pdf”. The deadline to apply is 11:59 p.m. on Monday, October 14. 

A committee of representatives from each school and college, Office of Campus Life, and the President's Office will review applications and six students will be invited to audition their full speech in a final round. 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. 

Student speakers will receive a complimentary cap and gown rental, and will be listed in the commencement program.

Questions about the process can be directed to Andrew Toczydlowski. Fall 2018 speeches 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 students to sing the National Anthem at each of the five American University commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 9, and Sunday, May 10.

Auditions will take place on Wednesday, March 4, between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. in the Katzen Arts Center. To sign up for an audition slot, please contact Fetlework Daley in the Department of Performing Arts at or come to Katzen Room 100, Monday-Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. 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 listed in the commencement program. We cannot guarantee that singers will be assigned to their own graduation ceremony. Anthem singers must be eligible 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.