Commencement Student Speaker -- Selection Process

Spring 2016

Are you interested in speaking on behalf of your classmates at Spring Commencement on Saturday, May 14, 2016?

Do you believe you can give a speech that your graduating classmates, parents and friends will remember on this auspicious occasion?

Then maybe YOU are the right person to become the next Student Commencement Speaker.

How It Works

The Honors Council will select a Student Commencement Speaker to speak on behalf of their classmates at the Spring Commencement ceremonies at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. 

To be considered for Student Commencement Speaker, applicants must be graduating with honors (summa cum laude, magna cum laude or cum laude) and must submit a draft speech for review by the Honors Council.

For most, commencement is both an ending and a beginning; an opportunity for graduates to reflect on what has been, while anticipating new, perhaps unknown, challenges.

The most well received speeches are those that have the most meaning for the largest number of persons in attendance, reflect on the common educational experience, and share, in a personal way, the value of the education received at SUNY Plattsburgh.

In selecting the best submitted draft, the Honors Council considers such things as:

  • Clarity of ideas,
  • Appropriateness of topic,
  • Suitability for the occasion and intended audience,
  • Quality of content, and
  • Extent to which the speech represents the best of the Plattsburgh experience.

Draft speeches submitted should be approximately no more than five (5) minutes long, which translates into approximately three (3) to four (4) double-spaced pages.

This is not a nomination. Students wishing to be considered must follow the steps outlined below.

What You Need to Do

Step 1: Contact the Honors Center

If you are considering submission of a draft speech for the 2016 Spring Commencement Ceremony, please notify the Redcay Honors Center of your intent no later than Friday, March 25, 2016. For details, please contact:

Sandra Boulerice
Phone: (518) 564-3075

Be sure to include your name, address, SUNY Plattsburgh ID #, e-mail address and telephone number for verification purposes.

Step 2: Submit Your Speech For Consideration

Then you have until 12 p.m. on Wednesday, March 30, 2016 to submit your draft speeches in Microsoft Word format to Sandra Boulerice by email All draft speeches are reviewed anonymously, so please do not type your name on the speech. Instead, on a separate cover sheet, include your name, address, SUNY Plattsburgh ID #, email address, telephone number and academic major.

The Honors Council will review all submissions and then a graduating student will be chosen Student Commencement Speaker no later than Friday, April 15, 2016. The person selected as Student Commencement Speaker will receive assistance from members of the Honors Council in preparing the final version of the speech prior to Spring Commencement. Additionally, the Student Commencement Speaker will seat on the dais with college officials and honorees during commencement, and family members of the Student Commencement Speaker may be able to sit in the reserved section. All qualified graduating students who submit a draft speech will receive a memento from the college in appreciation of their effort.

This is a distinct honor, and one that many Student Commencement Speakers have enjoyed. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. James Armstrong, University Distinguished Teaching Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Honors Program, by email or phone (518) 564-3075.

Spring 2015 Dates to Remember

  • Friday, March 25, 2016 - Notifiy Redcay Honors Center of Intent to Submit a Draft Speech
  • Wednesday, March 30, 2016 - Submit draft speech by 12 p.m.
  • Friday, April 15, 2016 - Student Speaker Named by Honors Council
  • Saturday, May 14, 2016 - Spring Commencement, 9 a.m./2 p.m 


Contact Information

For more information about Spring Commencement at SUNY Plattsburgh, please contact:

Office of the President
159 Hawkins Hall
(518) 564-2010 (phone)
(518) 564-3932 (fax)