Student Commencement Speaker

Apply to speak at commencement

Graduating seniors are invited to apply to be the IU Indianapolis undergraduate student commencement speaker each spring. The student commencement speaker will give a three-to-five-minute speech in front of graduating students, their guests, and campus officials.

Details about the IU Indianapolis commencement are available on the Commencement website.

Eligible students may apply to be the student commencement speaker by completing an application packet. The undergraduate student speaker will have a successful academic record and a history of participation in campus or community activities. A selection committee with representation from the faculty, staff, and student body will review applications, interview a number of candidates, and determine finalists.

The deadline to submit your application for the 2025 commencement speaker will be announced in late January. Please check back then for more details.

The things that we are going through, they don’t always tell us the truth about our situation. Look at all you’ve done so far in college. You can do so much more. Keep paddling on.

Myra Kivett | 2023 Commencement Speaker

Frequently asked questions

Any undergraduate student who:

  • Is graduating in May 2025, summer 2025, or who has already graduated in December 2024.
  • Is in good academic standing. The selection committee will consult with the academic dean of the student's major and the dean of students to ensure that an applicant meets the overall academic record and that student conduct expectations have been met.

The deadline for the 2025 commencement speaker will be announced in late January. Please check back then for more details.

The student speaker's speech should be three to five minutes long or approximately 500–750 words.

Beyond the application essay, students who make it to the semi-final round will come in for a 20-minute interview with the selection committee.

Students who make it to the final round will come in to deliver their speech for a small audience.

Finally, once the student commencement speaker is named, that student can expect to do five to seven practice speeches in front of various audiences on campus (e.g., deans, student organizations, faculty and staff meetings) during the month of April. We work around the student’s schedule to ensure the speaker gets plenty of campus feedback before delivering the speech on commencement day.

Yes, assistance with speech development and editing will be provided.

No, being a student speaker at commencement is not a paid position.

One undergraduate student.

No. A featured speaker, to be selected by the president of the university, will give a full-length commencement address.

No. The student speaker will be seated on the stage with other members of the platform party.