• Speaker must be a graduating student, eligible to participate in commencement and have no more than 6 credit hours to complete following the spring semester.
  • One speech per graduating student may be submitted.
  • Speech should be addressed to the University community in general, including traditional and non-traditional students, family members, guests, faculty, and staff.
  • It is suggested that the speech reflects the student’s experience as a member of the University community in a way that is relatable to all graduating students.
  • Speech must be 3-5 minutes in length (approximately 500-700 words).
  • Selection is based on quality, originality, overall message, tone, relevance, and delivery.

Selection Process:

  • Interested students will submit both the written speech and a video recording of themselves presenting their speech by the February 2, 2024 submission deadline.
  • All submitted speeches will be reviewed by the selection committee and all candidates will be notified by February 12th about their status in the process.
  • Finalists will be invited to present their speech to the committee in-person (in Portland) on February 20th, 21st, or 22nd (times & locations TBD).
  • The student commencement speaker will be selected and notified by February 26th. The speaker will have individual speech coaching to practice and prepare throughout the month of April.
  • The selected speaker will need to work with the Office of Public Affairs to submit an appropriate headshot and biography to be included in the Commencement booklet by March 6th.
  • The final commencement speech will be delivered live, in-person at the 2024 Commencement Ceremony on May 4, 2024. There will be a rehearsal on Friday, May 3rd at 3:00pm.

Submission Process:

  • Submit your speech AND video recording of your speech presentation by Friday, February 2nd at 11:59 PM via the Google Form (you must be logged in to your email to access the form)

Additional Information:

  • The student speakers are chosen by a committee made up of students, faculty and staff.
  • If you need special services, assistance or accommodation to participate fully in this program, contact – TTY 780-5646 or email
  • The selected speaker will be awarded a gift donated by the USM Alumni Association.
  • For any writing assistance, you are encouraged to contact the Learning Commons.
  • Questions? Contact Margaret O’Hare, Chair of the Student Commencement Speaker Selection Committee, via email at