Commencement > For Students > Student Speaker Application

Student Speaker Application

DePaul University invites graduating students from the Class of 2021 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 - 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 w​orld.​​ The deadline to apply is March 26. Please see below for other key dates and deadlines. 

Apply to be a Student Speaker her​e​.


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 online commencement ceremony, including the virtual practice session scheduled for April 30.


  • 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 to represent each college at their commencement ceremony. The selected speakers are expected to work with a coach to refine their speech and delivery. Decisions will be made by April 9.
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 16 - Application opens
  • March 26 - Application closes
  • April 9 - Speakers selected
  • ​​Mid and Late April ​- Rehearsal sessions and video recordings​
  • June 12 - Commencement online ceremonies