Concordia University Wisconsin invites graduating students from the Class of 2024 to apply to be the student speaker at their respective commencement ceremony. It is an honor to be selected to present the student commencement address and inspire fellow graduates to carry the Concordia mission out into the world. Student speakers are considered from traditional/post-traditional undergraduate and graduate programs on a rotating basis.


Graduating students interested in delivering the commencement address must meet these criteria:

  • Be eligible for graduation.
  • Receive two faculty nominations.
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing.
  • Commit to attend and participate fully in the commencement ceremony.

Faculty nomination

Students must have two faculty members nominate them as a student speaker and provide a recommendation as to why they support the nomination. Faculty members can complete this form to nominate a student.

Guidelines for the speech

  • The address should be between 3 – 5 minutes. This translates to approximately 400 – 650 words or 2 – 3 double-spaced, typed pages.
  • Because you will present the speech to fellow students graduating from more than one academic school or modality, it is important to keep the Concordia themes broad. The address should reference experiences common to all Concordia students.
  • Discuss the Concordia mission and educational experience– how it develops a desire to make a change in the world.
  • Include examples from collegiate life such as common coursework (general education classes), dorm life, co-curricular involvement, service, reflection on the mission and values of Concordia.
  • Avoid personal references that are unique to personal experience unless they provide insights into an extraordinary life lesson valuable to your listeners.
  • A variety of emotional content is always welcome in a speech. Humor is useful as well as a serious tone, as well as joy and sorrow. You do not have to include all of these, but emotional monotony can make for a difficult listening experience.

Selection process

A selection committee will review entries and select a student speaker. The selection committee will consider the following when making their selection of student speakers:

  • Clarity of ideas
  • Appeal to a broad audience & common experiences of Concordia students
  • Quality of speech content
  • Length of presentation (appropriate word length)
  • Extent to which the speech represents the mission and values of Concordia
  • Taking into account the above criterion the committee will also seek a diverse representation of Concordia students.

The selection committee will announce the selected speakers no later than two weeks after the application deadline. The selection committee will also notify unsuccessful applicants at this time. The selected speakers will work with a coach to refine their speech and delivery.

Submission process

Eligible and interested students are required to submit an application (see below). This application must include a copy of the manuscript of your commencement address, your resume, and a brief bio. The deadline to submit applications for the May 2024 commencement ceremonies is Sunday, March 31, 2024.

Student speaker application