Commencement Speakers

Student Commencement Speaker Opportunity

You can apply to be the voice of your graduating class. One student speaker will address approximately 34,000 attendees at the IU Bloomington Undergraduate Commencement ceremony held in May. The Spring semester ceremony in May will also feature a Student Commencement Speaker. Students with a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or above are encouraged to apply.

This page will be updated with details on the May commencement speaker application.

Application materials include:

  • One essay question (No more than 300 words)
  • Cumulative IU GPA
  • Draft of speech
  • Two letters of recommendation, one from IU faculty

Recommendation letters can be submitted in two ways. Students may upload letters of recommendation to their application or students may share this separate form with recommenders to submit letters on the student's behalf.

A selection committee with representation from the faculty, staff, and student body will review applications, interview a number of candidates, and determine finalists.

The selected speaker will be seated on stage with the other members of the platform party during the IU Bloomington Undergraduate Commencement ceremony and will give a 3-5 minute speech (approximately 500-750 words). IU will provide assistance with speech development and editing.

Application materials must be submitted by 11:59 p.m. on March 8, 2024.

For questions about the submission process, please contact

Description of the video:

[Indiana University President Pamela Whitten]

Now it is my pleasure to introduce our student speaker today. Jordan Rae Davis is graduating today with highest distinction with a bachelor of science degree majoring in marketing and international business from the Kelley School of Business.

Miss Davis is from Dayton Ohio and she came to IU as a William R. Fry Scholar. She's a 2022  

Martin Luther King building bridges award winner and the 2021 Kelley Student Leader of the Year. She's also the recipient of the Herman B Wells Senior Recognition Award, the most  

prestigious award given to an IU Bloomington senior in recognition of academic excellence.  

Her campus involvement has included serving as Director of Health and Well-being for IU student government and as Vice President of Outreach for Kelley Student Government. She has been a joy to come to know this year and it is my great, great honor to welcome Jordan Davis to the podium.

[Jordan Davis]

Thank you, good morning. Thank you so much President Whitten, Provost Shrivastav and the trustees of Indiana University. I'm so, so honored to be here and I'm really, really excited. Fellow students thank you all so much for being here and a huge congratulations to us, the Class of 2022! 

I'm beyond excited and honored to celebrate with all of you today. There is a lot going on in our world right now, so just as we acknowledge all the pain we've collectively gone through let's be proud that we're standing here today together. We should not take this special moment for granted.  

Let's play a little game. I want everyone to close their eyes right now, I'll do it too. Take a deep breath and time travel back to March 2020. You're getting ready for spring break, mentally checking out of your midterms, although that might have been just me, and doing your extremely last-minute online shopping hauls, which I know was not just me.  

Then boom, we get the announcement. You know the one. Everything is flipped upside down.  

In your wildest dreams, did you ever imagine we would have entered a whole new world? Now let's come back to the present. I'm willing to bet that none of us imagined that, but guess what?  

This collective moment heightened our ability to imagine. An imagination does not only have to run in a negative direction. So much of what we've done for one another during this period proves that we can reimagine our world in a positive direction. A new way of life is on the horizon with an even bigger capacity to imagine and think beyond what previously seemed possible. 

Our imaginations are a very powerful tool. You see, I'm a huge dreamer. I'm always daydreaming, dreaming of the future I want, thinking about how we can reimagine our world.  

Maybe similar to some of you, I'm often told that I need to get my head out of the clouds. 

But looking back on our time here at IU, I think that an irrational imagination might be the key to how we take our Hoosier education and experiences and create a better world. Over the last four years we've seen and experienced a beautiful reimagination of our beloved IU home. An unprecedented method of advanced research and discovery and the Big Red 200 supercomputer. Innovative ways to deliver academic instruction that created advanced strides in classroom accessibility for all students. Brilliant presidential leadership with IU's very own first incredible woman president in President Whitten. 

But as Hoosiers we've also been very successful in reimagining how we live out our personal lives. Overcoming the fear of asking for help and saying “I'm not okay”. Digging deeper into our friendships as we find new ways to stay connected. Reflecting on what it truly looks like to love our neighbor and support one another. Learning how to spend more time alone and being willing to give ourselves the grace we so freely give to others. Reimagination has enlivened our amazing sports programs, our world-renowned laboratories, and the celebration of music and sound in the IU Auditorium.

But now for the big question.

How do we take all that we've learned in all the things we've seen reimagined and keep this momentum going? I think the answer lies in us being courageous enough to let our imaginations run wild.  

Whether you're entering the workforce, obtaining a professional degree, taking some time for yourself or completely unsure of what's next, we are all responsible for being irrationally imaginative, and this looks different for everyone. Maybe it looks like you rejecting the status quo and prioritizing your health and well-being at all costs. Maybe it looks like focusing on the process rather than rushing towards the destination. Maybe it looks like speaking up even though your voice is shaking and your knees are trembling.  

All I know for sure is that this is certainly no easy task. It's going to be scary and it may feel strange at first, but we always fear what is not familiar. We've been so, so blessed to receive a  world-class education through IU, so we now collectively owe it to ourselves, one another, and all the ones coming after us to reimagine and reinvent our collective world. 

So today allow me to encourage you. Having your head in the clouds, being larger than life and being irrational is not always a bad thing. In fact, I think we hold the key to completely transforming the world as we know it. All it takes is just a little imagination. 

Thank you! Congratulations and go Hoosiers!