Students: Apply Now for Chance to Speak at Commencement

Deadline for entries in the competition for a chance to share your message on the National Mall during Commencement is Feb. 28.

Julia Haigney
In her 2016 Commencement address, Julia Haigney urged fellow graduates to push beyond their comfort zones. (William Atkins/GW Today)
February 07, 2017

Imagine standing on stage during the George Washington University Commencement on the National Mall flanked by university administrators and faculty with the shadow of the monuments behind you and a crowd of 25,000 people in front of you.

This will be the view for one lucky GW student selected to be the 2017 Commencement student speaker.

All graduating undergraduate and graduate students (including on-campus and distance learning students) are eligible to submit an application for the student speaker competition until Feb. 28. Applications should include a biography, a written speech and a YouTube or Vimeo video of a performance of the speech that is no longer than three minutes.

Following the application process, up to 10 students will be selected as semi-finalists to perform their speeches in person or via Skype for a panel of faculty and staff that will evaluate the speeches and choose a winner.

The student selected for the coveted role will receive six tickets for reserved seating at the May 21 Commencement celebration and commemorative photos. The winner also will receive invitations to special Commencement weekend events and a photo with the Commencement speaker.

Past Commencement speakers include former First Lady Michelle Obama, actress and alumna Kerry Washington, B.A. ’98, activist and chef José Andrés, Apple CEO Tim Cook and U.S. Sen. Cory A. Booker (D-N.J.).

Check out the story of the 2016 student Commencement speaker and reflections from past student speakers.

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