2019 Commencement Speakers - Kenya Z. Hyman and Daniel S. Smith
A graduating Wagner College student will be chosen to deliver a brief inspirational speech at the College’s ceremony on May 27, 2021 (Rain date May 28, 2021).
Application and Rehearsal Information
Students interested in competing for this honor must follow the following instructions:
- Submit the following materials to Ann Giarratano (firstname.lastname@example.org) by 4:30pm ET, April 12, 2021:
- An updated resume.
- Your intended commencement speech as a word document. The speech must be no longer than 3 spoken minutes in length, and respond to the question: The past year has brought many challenges to the forefront; physical and mental health concerns, social and racial inequities, etc. As you reflect on the past year and your time at Wagner, how have your experiences at the College allowed you to stay resilient?
- Each page of the document should be numbered, but no name or other identifying information should be recognizable in this document.
- Email your documents to Ann Giarratano (email@example.com). You need to put in the subject line LastnameFirstnameSpeech .
- Please note that student applicants for this process must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0.
- A confirmation reply will be sent to you once your complete application has been received.
- An Executive Committee will review all applications and select students for auditions. The Committee is not aware of the name of the student when making their decision.
- Those students who are selected will present their speech to a selection committee composed of staff, faculty and students. You must be available for auditions during the week of April 26, 2021 (exact days and time to be determined). Auditions will be done virtually via Zoom. The committee will then choose one speech for presentation at Commencement.
- If you are selected, you must commit to meeting with the speaker coach for a minimum of 2 hours between May 3 and May 7, 2021.
- Be available for final rehearsal on Monday, May 17 or Tuesday, May18, 2021 (exact time to be determined).
Commencement Speech Guidelines
The following are suggested guidelines for the Wagner College Student Commencement speech. While not all follow these guidelines, most do.
Structure and Flow
- Speeches open with greetings to the President, Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, alumni, and the fellow members of the Class of 2021, with special thanks to parents, friends and loved ones who made it all possible.
- The speaker should then respond to the question: The past year has brought many challenges to the forefront; physical and mental health concerns, social and racial inequities, etc. As you reflect on the past year and your time at Wagner, how have your experiences at the College allowed you to stay resilient?
- Speeches then transition towards their closing, often with an energetic call to action. Remember that this is a commencement ceremony, and that it marks people moving forward and beginning new lives.
Characteristics and Length
Effective speeches are rich in content, have a strong theme, tell compelling stories, and ultimately inspire the listeners. They should be inclusive and demonstrate passion, conviction, and sincerity. The speech’s perspective should not reflect that of a single person or campus department, but all those who are graduating. Please remember not to use offensive or inappropriate language in the speech. The speech needs to be delivered in less than 3 minutes.