Apply to be Student Speaker for 2020 Winter Commencement

Lisa Kalmal Commencement Speech

We are seeking a graduating student of the Class of 2020 to serve as the student speaker at the Winter Commencement ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020. The selected student will be invited to speak on behalf of all graduates. Any student who completes degree requirements in either summer or fall term of 2020 and indicates their intention to graduate through the MyUW Student Center is eligible, regardless of degree, school, college, or major. The student selected will deliver a three-minute speech. 

Winter Commencement recognizes all doctoral and professional degrees, all master’s degrees, and all bachelor’s degrees – usually around 2,300 graduates. Additional information about commencement is available at

Your submission should reflect your unique path to UW–Madison, how you have been shaped by your time here on campus (what are some of the most impactful moments, what was a turning point, etc.), and what you hope to see yourself and your fellow classmates achieve in the coming years after graduation. Check out the Class of 2019 graduate Lisa Kamal’s speech which went viral with a tweet from Lin-Manuel Miranda. 

If you are interested in being considered for this speaking opportunity, please complete this application, and upload a Word doc of your remarks, as well as an audio or video file of you presenting your remarks, by midnight on Monday, Nov. 2

The survey includes:

  1. Your name, phone number, email address, and the school/college and major from which you will graduate.
  2. A Word doc of your remarks.
  3. An audio or video file of your remarks, as you would present them onstage to the graduates.

The process of selecting student speakers will be as follows:

  1. Senior class officers, along with representatives from the Chancellor’s Office and University Communications, will review all applications.
  2. A select number of candidates will be asked to virtually present their remarks to a committee. 
  3. The student speaker for Winter Commencement will be notified by Monday, Nov. 9.
  4. The student speaker will then have the opportunity to work with an experienced speechwriter to finalize their remarks and a voice coach on their delivery.

We look forward to your submissions. Feel free to contact us with any questions, and congratulations on your upcoming graduation!