Commencement > For Students > Student Speaker Application

Student Speaker Application


DePaul University invites graduating students from the Class of 2023 to apply to be the student speaker at their respective June commencement ceremony. 

It is an honor to be selected to present the student commencement address - to convey a message of inspiration and encouragement, share common experiences and insights, and inspire your fellow graduates to carry the DePaul tradition out into the world. ​

The submission period for 2023 has closed and the student speakers for all June ceremonies have been selected​. Thank you to all of the graduates who took the time to submit.


Graduating students interested in delivering the commencement address must meet these criteria:
  • Be eligible for graduation.  
  • Be in good academic and disciplinary standing.
  • ​Commit to attend and participate fully in the in-person rehearsal (May 12) and the commencement ceremony (June 10 or 11).


  • Discuss the transformative power of the DePaul educational experience and the Vincentian mission – how it develops a desire to make a change in the world.
  • Include examples from collegiate life such as common coursework (general education classes), residence life, co-curricular involvement, service, reflection on the mission and values of DePaul.
  • Include significant contemporary events that have shaped your life during college. Avoid 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.

Submission Pr​ocess

​​Eligible and interested students are required to submit an online application. This application must include a written draft and a video recording of you delivering your full commencement address. The address should be 3-5 minutes in length, which translates to approximately 400-650 words or 2-3 double-spaced, typed pages. Additional video submission details are on the application.

Selection​ Process

A selection committee comprised of representatives from each college and the Student Government Association will review entries and will select one student speaker for each of the six June commencement ceremonies. Applicants will be contacted by April 12 with a decision. The selected speakers are expected to work with a coach to refine their speech and delivery. 
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 DePaul students
  • Quality of speech content
  • Length of presentation (appropriate word length)
  • Extent to which the speech represents the mission and values of DePaul
  • Speaker’s delivery – well prepared, engaging, vocal variety, animated delivery, stage presence
  • Taking into account the above criterion the committee will also seek a diverse representation of DePaul students.

Important Dates 

February 1: Commencement student speaker application opens

March 31 (at noon): Commencement student speaker application closes

April 12: Applicants will be contacted by Selection Committee with a decision

April 26: Commencement RSVP and regalia ordering deadline

May 12: In-person commencement student speaker rehearsal

June 10-11: June commencement ceremonies

If you have any questions, please contact the Office of Academic Events at​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​