Student Graduation Speaker Policy To Change

In the past, it has been customary for the Senior Class President to give a speech at Commencement.  Although awaiting final approval from President Gann, a change in this policy for the 2010-2011 academic year (and beyond) has already been approved by several members of the Dean of Students and Dean of Faculty offices, including Dean Mary Spellman and Dean Greg Hess.

Many people may be indifferent to the student chosen to speak on their behalf at their graduation, but I believe changing this process to a student-nominated speaker is more democratic and will ultimately produce a much more quality speech.  As the incoming Senior Class President, I am the first to say that I think there are people in my class who will be able to draft and deliver a much better speech than I ever could.  On top of that, it is not even specified in the ASCMC Constitution that the Senior Class President must give the speech.  The document merely states the Senior Class President "shall work with the CMC administration to plan the annual graduation ceremonies."

I do not think that when students vote for their Senior Class President in March of their Junior year they judge the candidates based on their ability to give a great graduation speech.  The Senior Class President serves an important role for students in their final year here at CMC, but this should not necessarily include speaking at graduation.  It has also been my understanding that it is the general consensus of the student body that this will be a positive change.  Members of the ASCMC Executive Board, alumni, current seniors, current juniors, and even underclassmen have expressed their support for this new tradition.

The proposed plan is as follows:

  • Applicants first encouraged to apply via The Forum around Thanksgiving
  • Committee formed consisting of the ASCMC President, Senior Class President, a member of the Dean of Students, a Faculty representative, and two more student representatives to choose finalists
  • Application will be open until deadline at the beginning of second semester (giving seniors time to write speeches over winter break)
  • Speaker selection committee reviews applications after deadline at the beginning of second semester
  • Committee decides on 3-5 finalists by March 1st
  • Seniors choose the speaker from the finalists by a direct vote

This plan is tentative and definitely flexible.  I encourage all input from current students and alumni if you have alterations or suggestions to make for the current plan.