Selection Criteria

The speech should be five (5) minutes. Five minutes is the maximum allowable time.

All candidates will be judged using the following criteria.

Content (50%)

  • Intelligent, creative and original: The speech should display intelligence, eloquence, wit, 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 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. Five (5) minutes is the maximum time allowed

Additional Information

  • You MUST sign-up to audition by email (, SUBJECT: Audition), or by calling 956-GRAD.
  • Bring 15 copies of your printed speech for the selection committee.
  • Be prepared to introduce yourself prior to the audition (not included in the time constraint).
  • The content is to be identical to the content of the speech delivered in the ceremony.
  • The order of auditions will be determined that day by lottery.
  • The auditions may be videotaped to assist the selection committee in making its decision.
  • The auditions are open to the public, but not to those auditioning. If attendees in any way distract the speaker or the audience from the speech, they will be asked to leave.
  • A selection committee comprised of faculty, staff, and alumni will select the winner.
  • All candidates will be notified of the committee's decision by email, letter, or phone call (winner).

If you have any questions, please call 956-3889, or by email to