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Student Commencement Speaker


Guidelines for 2021 Commencement

Saint Xavier University invites students -- undergraduate and graduate -- to apply to be a commencement speaker. It is a distinguished honor for a student to be selected to present a commencement speech; one that may be included on a resume.

One student will be selected to deliver a virtual address to be filmed (preferably on campus) on March 29, 2021.

Student Commencement speaker Janica addresses the class of 2019


Speaker Qualifications

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How to

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Student Speaker Qualifications

Graduating students interested in delivering a student commencement speech must meet these guidelines:

  1. Minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0
  2. Good disciplinary standing
  3. Record of academic achievement, service and campus involvement

Speech Guidelines

Speeches should address the following:

  1. How have you been shaped by the mission of SXU, which is rooted in our Mercy heritage? Include examples from collegiate life, course work, co-curricular involvement, service, reflection on a Core Value, peer and other relationships developed, etc.
  2. This year marks Saint Xavier's 175th anniversary. Speak to the transformative power of being immersed in an SXU Mercy education; specifically, how the 175 year legacy of the Sisters of Mercy and Saint Xavier has transformed your life.
  3. What does the phrase "calling all doers" mean to you? How have you been "called as a doer" or challenged others to this call?
  4. Share information about your personal development and future outlook -- speaking to "the best in you."
  5. How have your personal experiences as a student shaped your educational journey at SXU and developed a desire for you to want to make a change in the world?

The speech should:

  1. Utilize language that is sophisticated, inspiring, yet accessible
  2. Appeal to and capture the attention of a broad audience
  3. Be inclusive of the undergraduate and graduate student experience
  4. Include creative and appealing techniques such as metaphors, stories, brief quotes or humor
  5. Illuminate the universal experience of being a student
  6. Be structured around a Mercy theme using descriptive examples reflective of the broader student experience at SXU
  7. Be three to four minutes in length, or approximately 700 words

A committee will select the student speakers.

Speech Evaluation

The committee utilizes the following rubric as an evaluative tool for each speech and speech presentation:

Speech Content

The Student's Speech Poor Average Very Good Excellent
Thoughtfully reflects on how his/her personal experiences at SXU have shaped his/her journey        
Thoughtfully reflects on the impact of a Mercy Education, uses specific examples as well as effective language to illustrate his/her message        
Appeals to a broad audience of graduates, guests, and SXU community members        

Speech Delivery

The Student Poor Average Very Good Excellent
Effectively engages the audience and holds its attention        
Uses appropriate pronunciation, volume and inflection        
Maintains eye contact throughout the presentation        
Displays appropriate self-confidence and comfort speaking before an audience        


How to Apply

Complete the SXU Student Commencement Speaker Application 2021 Form by Monday, March 15, 2021, which includes the required items listed below.

  1. Statement of interest that includes contact information (phone number and SXU email)
  2. Written draft of speech
  3. Current resume that includes academic achievements, research, campus involvement and volunteerism
  4. Video recording

Video Recording Recommendations

In addition to completing the form, please prepare a video recording of you delivering the speech. The video should be uploaded to your Google drive with shared access to The video is not expected to be of professional quality, but should be recorded in good lighting, with no background noise or other distractions.

Recommendations to prepare an optimal video:

  • Record in a horizontal 16:9 ratio.
  • Place yourself in the center of the frame with your head in the top half of the frame.
  • Be mindful of your surroundings. Before recording, check the room for distractions and/or items that might be considered inappropriate for the video.
  • Turn off all electronics and other objects that produce audio.
  • DO NOT record from extreme angles. The camera should be around eye level.
  • Use a tripod if your device can be mounted on one. Phone/tablet users will have to be creative; find an assistant or use books, a bookshelf, a phone holder with a stand, a picture frame stand, or an easel.

Selected finalists will be mentored prior to the delivery of the speech at the commencement ceremony.


Questions about the student speaker selection process may be directed to