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Last modified: Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pollock and Merki chosen as IU Bloomington student commencement speakers

April 14, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University students Shabrelle Pollock and Andrew Merki have been selected to give student speeches during IU Bloomington undergraduate commencement ceremonies on May 7, Provost and Executive Vice President Karen Hanson announced.

Pollock, from Jeffersonville, Ind., will receive a B.A. degree in journalism with a minor in marketing. Merki, from La Plata, Md., will receive a B.S. in business with concentrations in economic consulting and public policy analysis. Merki will speak at the morning ceremony and Pollock will speak in the afternoon.

2011 Commencement Student Speakers

Andrew Merki and Shabrelle Pollock will address fellow graduates at the May 7 undergraduate commencement.

Print-Quality Photo

"Shabrelle and Andrew demonstrate what it means to make the most of an Indiana University education," Hanson said. "Their academic credentials are outstanding, and they have brought tremendous energy, enthusiasm and idealism to their many community and service activities. Their commencement speeches will interest and inspire their fellow graduates."

IU Bloomington instituted the practice of selecting graduating seniors to speak at commencement in 2010, when Jack McCarthy and Natsuki Atagi were chosen to inaugurate the modern-day tradition. Pollock and Merki continue the practice, bringing extraordinary resumes from their student careers to the experience. Both are students in the Hutton Honors College who have demonstrated an unusual passion for learning and leadership both on and off campus.

Pollock is an Ernie Pyle Scholar in the School of Journalism Honors Program, a Jesse and Beulah Cox Scholar and a Hudson-Holland Scholar. Born in Mississippi, she credits her IU education with expanding her horizons and broadening her world view, enabling her to travel to London, Paris and Tokyo while taking classes in a wide range of subjects.

She has been communications director for the Beth Wood chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America, managing editor of the Campus Writing Tutorial Services newsletter and sports editor of the Arbutus yearbook. She was a resident assistant for two years in IU's Briscoe residence hall

Merki is a student in the Mitte Business Honors Program in the Kelley School of Business. With interests ranging from entrepreneurship to consumer issues to hunger and homelessness, he believes that IU is an institution where students can achieve unlimited success.

A member of the Undergraduate Consulting Workshop in the Kelley School, Merki has served as IU chapter and state chairman of the Indiana Public Interest Research Group. He co-founded the Student Consumer Action Network, which concentrates on financial literacy and student consumer issues. He has been an advocate for health care reform and financial regulatory reform.

Students applied to be selected as commencement speakers, and a committee reviewed applications, interviewed a number of candidates, and recommended finalists to Hanson. To be eligible for selection, students had to be graduating in May 2011 or summer 2011 and have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5. In addition to a strong academic record, the committee looked for students with strong written and verbal communication skills, a history of participation in campus or community activities, and a unique story to tell.

May 7 undergraduate commencement ceremonies take place from 10-11:30 a.m. for students in business, education, HPER, SPEA, music, nursing and social work, and from 3-4:30 p.m. for students in the College of Arts and Sciences, continuing studies, informatics and computing, journalism and optometry. Both ceremonies take place at Assembly Hall. See for more information.