Student Speaker

The Student Speaker Selection Committee for the Commencement 2016 is searching for two creative, inspirational speeches and speakers to make a three-minute presentation at one of the two Commencement Ceremonies. Apply now.

Any graduate or undergraduate student who will have fulfilled degree requirements and is participating in the ceremony Saturday, May 14, 2016 may apply. Students who completed their degree requirements in December 2015 may also apply. 

Your application and presentation will be reviewed by the Speaker Selection Committee. The committee will choose five to six finalists and invite those students to deliver their three-minute speech before the committee. Those selected must be available to present their speech on Tuesday, April 5 from 5 to 7 p.m. or Friday, April 8 from 2 to 4 p.m. Please plan accordingly. All speeches must be original works of the student. Speeches submitted to the committee are done so with the understanding that they may be printed on the Commencement website.

The committee suggests you consider the following when writing your speech:

Things to consider including:
  • Common experiences and future hopes for the graduating class
  • Universal themes that could be experienced and appreciated by the UMass Lowell Community
  • Specific reference to campus and world events that graduates have shared work well
  • This speech will be heard by family and friends of all the graduates and should be appreciated by all
Things to avoid:
  • Being too personal
  • Generic speeches are not too successful; if you can replace University of Massachusetts Lowell with any institution name, the speech may not work for your audience
  • A little humor is nice but a monologue from a comedy routine is too much
  • Ideological speeches (i.e. political or moral views) may be divisive and not appropriate for this forum
All candidates will be judged using the following criteria:

Content (50%)
  • Intelligent, creative and original: The speech should display intelligence, eloquence and originality. Avoid the use of clichés. 
  • Appropriateness for graduation: The purpose of the ceremony is to honor our students, and to provide the opportunity for them to celebrate their degree candidacy with family and friends. The speech should be respectful of all attendees and congratulatory in nature. 
  • Relevance and significance: The speaker should have something relevant/significant to say to the student body and attendees. 
  • Well organized, clear message 
  • Accessible to the public: The content should be easily understood by those inside and outside of the University. While the primary audience is the students, please remember the families and friends in attendance. 
  • Welcoming Climate: The message should create drama and a welcoming climate, and have a memorable conclusion. 
Effectiveness of Delivery (50%)
  • Connection with the audience, stage presence, eye contact 
  • Articulateness of delivery, appropriate volume 
  • Energy and personality: the delivery should be lively 
  • Formal, yet conversational delivery style 
  • Grammatical considerations 
  • Delivered within the time specified. Three (3) minutes is the maximum time allowed 

Additional Information

  • Be prepared to introduce yourself. 
  • The order of auditions will be determined by availability and lottery. 
  • The auditions may be videotaped to assist the selection committee in making its decision. 
  • A selection committee comprised of faculty and staff will select the speaker. 
  • All candidates will be notified of the committee’s decision by email and/or phone call.
  • The selected student must be prepared to work with members of the committee after selection to improve presentation skills, as necessary. 
  • The content is to be identical to the content of the speech delivered to the Commencement Committee. 


  • Monday, March 7: Completed applications due by 4 p.m.
  • March 8-15: Committee reviews applications
  • March 16: Finalists are chosen and notified
  • Tuesday, April 5 and Friday, April 8: Oral presentation of speeches
  • Week of April 11: All participants notified of results
  • Friday, April 29: Speech submitted for Commencement Script
  • Saturday, May 14: Commencement