Student Speaker Privileges:

  • Network with distinguished guests & university administration prior to the ceremony.

  • Sit on stage during the ceremony.

  • Have a short bio featured in the commencement program.

  • Receive reserved seating for family members & guests.


As of the winter term, students must have a grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.4, with expected completion of a bachelor's, master's or doctoral degree in 2020. Good academic, financial & disciplinary standing at JWU are requirements as well. Candidates may apply to speak at the ceremony held for their program only. Professional staff enrolled as students are not eligible.

To Apply:

Prior to the applicable deadline below, email the following information to commencementspeaker@jwu.edu:

  1. Name and JWU ID#

  2. Telephone # (specify day/evening)

  3. College, Major, & Grade Point Average

  4. A current résumé

  5. One draft copy of your commencement address which must be typed & double-spaced

Graduate Deadline: March 6, 2020, 4pm
Undergrad Deadline: March 27, 2020, 4pm

The selection committee will review submissions anonymously & the committee chair will invite the top three candidates for each ceremony to deliver their speeches for final consideration. Each address will be evaluated based on grammar, spelling, theme/idea, coherency, creativity, organization, potential, audience & voice. After final selections are made, committee members will work with each student speaker to finalize their commencement addresses.

Writing Guidelines:

The address should be no more than 450-500 words. Highlight an experience that your fellow graduates can relate to. Ask yourself, what about your JWU experience has motivated you to get where you are today?