Commencement FAQ

When is the deadline to submit my application?

Deadline to submit is Monday, November 1, 2021 at 12:00 PM


How many speakers will be chosen?

One speaker will be selected for each of the Fall 2021 Commencement ceremonies.

  • Ph.D. Ceremony - Friday, December 17 from 9:00 - 10:30 AM
  • Masters Ceremony - Friday, December 17 from 1:00 - 3:45 PM
  • Bachelor's Ceremony - Saturday, December 18 from 10:00 AM - 12:30 PM

Are there certain requirements I must meet to be considered?

Yes, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a graduate in the ceremony
  • Be in good academic standing
  • Grant permission to verify academic standing
  • Have a history of participation in campus and/or community activities
  • Acknowledge the speech submitted is your own work and that you have adhered to the Student Honor Code in the creation of this speech


How do I apply?

  • Click here to summit your draft speech and video!
    • Be sure to identify which ceremony when submitting!
  • Speech should be between 2-3 minutes in length (you will be timed!)
  • Speech should be secular in tone, provide inspiration to the graduates, and recount times spent together at Georgia Tech.
  • Speech should also be relatable to and appropriate for the entire audience including parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, faculty, and staff.
  • Applicants must feel comfortable speaking at a podium and in front of a very large crowd.


What is the selection process timeline?

  • Deadline to submit is Monday, November 1 at 12:00 PM

  • Committee reviews submissions November 2 - 11

  • Finalists notified by late Friday, November 12

    • Link and audition details will be provided if you become a finalist

  • Auditions conducted on Tuesday, November 16 between 1:00 - 3:00 PM

    • Once your speech is submitted you will be contacted to predetermine your audition availability between 1-3pm.  You will be expected to hold that availability until audition time is confirmed if a finalist.

    • You will be expected to hold that availability until audition time is confirmed.

    • TBD whether the audition is in-person or virtual.

    • If unable to attend in-person as a finalist your required video will be played in your absence.


What should my speech be about?

  • A virtual info session to learn more about writing your speech, do's and don'ts, etc. will be held Day/Time TBD
  • If interested in participating in the session, please RSVP -
  •  As you polish your speech please keep in mind you are talking to your peers and their families and guests, so a positive and inspiring presentation is hopefully how you would like to be remembered. 
  • Try to avoid writing your speech entirely about yourself.  The committee will be looking for a speech with a little humor, some relation to GT (of course), and your/students time spent here, with an inspiring message/story to take forward for all!
  • Stage presence is important as well.  You don’t have to memorize your speech; however, you also shouldn’t read it word for word! 
  • Be mindful that if chosen to speak at commencement, you will be expected to deliver the speech you presented to the selection committee and rehearsed with the Clough Communications staff.


How will my application be reviewed?

The Commencement Speaker selection committee reviews and scores all applications to narrow down the finalists.  This committee is comprised of Students, Faculty, and Staff.


How will finalists audition?

  • Auditions will be conducted on Tuesday, November 16 between 1:00 - 3:00 PM.  Finalists will be notified of their specific audition time (within this 2-hour block of time) by late Friday, November 12.
  • You will give your speech virtually in front of the selection committee.  

  • All auditions will be held on the same day.  If you are selected as a finalist, but unavailable to participate in the virtual audition the video submitted when you applied will be used in your absence.  

  • The student commencement speaker for each of the three ceremonies will be selected at the end of the auditions and will be notified via email within 24 hours of the audition.


If selected, will there be assistance to help me with my speech?

Yes, the individuals selected for each ceremony as the Student Reflection Speaker will work with staff in the Communication Center in Clough Commons (CULC 447) to rehearse and finalize their speech. The dates and times for practice will be scheduled once the individuals are selected.


If chosen, when will I speak during the ceremony? Will I be able to join my classmates during the ceremony?

The student reflections speaker will speak at the beginning of the ceremony and then will rejoin his/her classmates.


For more information, please contact Debbie Dorsey in the Division of Student Life at 404 385-1562 or