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Last modified: Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Indiana University Bloomington seeking student speakers for commencement

March 7, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Indiana University Bloomington is seeking student speakers for the 2012 undergraduate commencement ceremonies May 5. Applications and nominations are being accepted until 5 p.m. March 22 by the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education.

Two speakers will be selected, one for each of the undergraduate ceremonies. Any student who will graduate in May or summer 2012 with a grade-point average of at least 3.5 is eligible to apply or be nominated.

Commencement Speaker Pollock 2011

Shabrelle Pollock, from Jeffersonville, Ind., speaks at the May 2011 IU Bloomington commencement ceremony.

Print-Quality Photo

"Commencement celebrates an important moment of transition in our students' lives," said IU Bloomington Interim Provost and Executive Vice President Lauren Robel. "It is a lovely and important recognition of the reason for the ceremony that students hear from their colleagues who have shared important parts of their journey to graduation. We look forward to selecting two of our talented and accomplished students to address the class."

The speakers who are selected will have a successful academic record and a history of participation in campus and/or community activities. A committee made up of faculty, staff and students will review applications and nominations, interview candidates and select the speakers by early April.

One student will speak at the morning commencement ceremony, and the other will address the afternoon ceremony. The students will speak for three to five minutes, addressing the approximately 17,000 graduates, family members and guests who attend each ceremony. They will receive guidance and support with developing and editing their speeches.

Graduating seniors may apply online. Also, faculty, staff and students may email nominations to

"It is always a pleasure to hear what seniors have to say to their fellow graduates about their IU Bloomington experience, both in the course of the selection process and at commencement itself," said Sonya Stephens, vice provost for undergraduate education. "We are very much looking forward to hearing from students who would like to speak to and for the Class of 2012."

In the early years of Indiana University, every graduating student made a speech as part of commencement exercises that lasted several days. The practice was discontinued, but student speeches were reinstituted in 2010, when Jack McCarthy and Natsuki Atagi were chosen to inaugurate the new tradition. Shabrelle Pollock and Andrew Merki addressed their fellow graduates in May 2011.

Undergraduate commencement ceremonies on May 5 will take place from 10 to 11:30 a.m. for graduates in business, education, HPER, music, nursing, SPEA and social work; and from 3 to 4:30 p.m. for graduates in the College of Arts and Sciences, continuing studies, informatics and computing, journalism and optometry. Commencement for students completing graduate and professional school will be from 3 to 4:30 p.m. May 4. All the ceremonies are at Assembly Hall.

For more information about the selection of student commencement speakers, contact Christy Moore at 812-855-8783 or