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Senior Oration


The Senior Oration is a regular part of Commencement in which a graduating senior delivers a 5-7 minute speech to the Commencement audience. A Senior Orator is chosen for each ceremony by a selection committee, in a multi-stage process beginning in January. Senior Orations are characterized by a cohesive theme and often include anecdotes from the Orators’ individual college experiences that resonate with their peers and families in the audience. Students may self-nominate by submitting a brief application and thematic statement by the stated deadline. Students may also be nominated by a faculty or staff member, and those students will be notified and asked to submit the application form.

Senior Oration Application


Senior Oration Release Form



  • January 20, 2020: Deadline for applications

  • By Friday, February 7, 2020:  A subset of applicants is selected and notified to prepare for an interview with the selection committee

  • End of February and first week in March: Selected applicants will give a one-minute summary of their speeches, and interview with the selection committee

  • By March 6, 2020: About four semi-finalists will be selected to prepare a 5-7 minute speech

  • By April 3, 2020: About four semi-finalists will present their speeches (5-7 minutes) to the selection committee and the Senior Orators will be selected Mid to late April: Members of the selection committee will assist the Senior Orators in rehearsing and preparing for speaking at Commencement May 16, 2020: Winning orators speak at respective Commencement ceremonies.

If you have any questions concerning the competition, please contact Wendi Kinney at 585-245-5501 or