Student Commencement Speaker
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The Student Commencement Speaker offers an address during the fall and spring commencement ceremonies and serves as the representatives of the graduating class. Providing the student address during this important university event is an opportunity 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 participates in pre-commencement activities and is seated on the main stage during the program.
UAA spring 2021 commencement speaker Jessica Reisinger
(Photo by James Evans / University of Alaska Anchorage)
Apply to be Commencement Speaker
Applications for Fall 2021 Commencement Speaker have been extended to Sunday, Oct. 17 by 11:59pm.
The Student Commencement Speaker offers an address during commencement ceremonies in the fall and spring.
Providing the student addresses during these important University events is an opportunity for the selected students to celebrate the accomplishments of the graduating class, reflect upon the past few years, and convey a message for the future. As the representatives of the graduating class, the speakers are expected to have made significant contributions to the campus and Anchorage community and have achieved academic success. Along with notable members of the UAA and UA community, as well as other important Alaskan representatives, the speaker(s) will participate as requested in pre-Commencement activities and be seated on the main stage during the program.
- 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
- Completed application
The Student Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee is appointed by the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs 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 involvement at UAA and the Anchorage community, 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. Graduate and undergraduate student speakers are selected.
- Spring 2021 - Jessica Reisinger
- Fall 2020 - Jamie Bagley
- Spring 2020 - Clare Baldwin, Alex Jorgensen, Virgina Groeschel
- Fall 2019 - Rose Kruger
- Spring 2019 - Geser Bat-Erdene
- Fall 2018 - Katherine Irwin
- Spring 2018 - Lyndea Kelleher
- Fall 2017 - Alexandria McLearen
- Spring 2017 - Nina Lee
- Fall 2016 - Sophie Lesha
- Spring 2016 - Jonathon Taylor
- Fall 2015 - Ruddy Sirri-Akonwi Abam
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.
The Graduate Degree Hooding Ceremony Speaker will address their fellow graduate students at a special ceremony that focuses on master's and doctoral degree candidates, as well as their accomplishments.
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.
Consult the following resources for ideas:
- USA Today
Website dedicated to the art of commencement speeches; video archives of famous address, helpful advice on creating a speech, and tons of inspirational quotes for consideration.
Search “commencement address” and watch speeches that are inspirational, funny or include the biggest mistakes.