Fall 2015 Student Commencement Speaker

Application Deadline: 5pm, October 2

Fall 2015 Student Commencement Speaker Application

Submit completed application to the Advisory Committee in 
Student Life & Leadership, Student Union 218 

Student Commencement Speakers

The Student Commencement Speakers offer an address during the fall and spring Commencement Ceremonies and serve as the representatives of the graduating class. Providing the student address during this important university event is an opportunity for the selected student to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating class, reflect upon the past few years, and convey a message for the future. Along with notable members of the UAA and UA community, as well as other important Alaskan representatives, the Student Commencement Speaker will participate in pre-commencement activities and be seated on the main stage during the program.

Criteria for Eligibility

  • Applicants must be graduating in the semester (fall or spring) of application (fall graduates apply in the fall deadline; spring/summer graduates apply in the spring deadline)
  • Enrolled in at least three (3) credits at the University of Alaska Anchorage and in good disciplinary standing
  • Minimum of 3.0 cumulative GPA at time of application
  • On-going leadership involvement at UAA for four semesters if receiving a bachelor’s degree. Two semesters if receiving other degrees or certificates
    • Applicant’s involvement may include memberships with campus groups, coordinating events on campus, or appointments/elected to a leadership position with an organization, committee, or board. (Note: If the leadership experience presented is solely through campus employment or as part of a for-credit course, it will not count as involvement for this honor).
    • Student’s involvement must have contributed to the improvement of student life on campus (i.e. the student identified a need and filled it; took initiative and made a significant difference by their involvement).
  • Completed application

Awarding Process

The Student Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee is appointed by the Dean of Students and composed of two faculty members and three graduating students not applying for the honor.  The Advisory Committee reviews applicants on the merit of their leadership involvement at UAA and the Anchorage committee, quality and relevance of their proposed commencement speech, and academic excellence.  Finalists will interview with and deliver their commencement speech to the Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee's recommendation is submitted to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs for final approval.


Creating a Commencement Address

The Student Commencement Speaker has the privilege of addressing all UAA students from those receiving certificates to those receiving masters degrees. While there are many people in attendance at the ceremony the goal of the student speaker is to represent and speak to their fellow students.

When creating the speech, it is important to reflect somewhat on UAA student experiences, but the speech is not only about retrospection and the experiences students had while at UAA. The speech should also look forward and provide some sense of the future, some sense of inspiration. Finally, commencement is a day for celebration. It is important to infuse the speech with sense of accomplishment and pride.

For ideas on how to create your commencement address we recommend the following:

USA Today: 8 Keys to a Graduation Speech with Pomp and Significance


USA Today: 10 Stellar Commencement Addresses


Website dedicated to the art of commencement speeches; video archives of famous address, helpful advice on creating your speech, and tons of inspirational quotes for your consideration.

Search “commencement address” and see the most inspirational, funny, and biggest mistakes



For additional information regarding eligibility or selection process, contact:

Paula A. Fish, Assistant Director for Student Leadership, 786-1371 or email: anpau@uaa.alaska.edu 


Spring 2016 - Deadline: 5pm, February 12

Spring 2016 Student Commencement Speaker Application