2011 graduates attend commencement ceremony Friday morning in the Huntsman Center. Richard Payson/Daily Utah Chronicle

Students in the College of Social and Behavioral Science (CSBS) can apply to speak at their convocation ceremony this spring.

In the past, students were invited to speak by professors in the department, but this has changed in recent years, and students who are interested can now submit an application for consideration. A selection committee will choose two speakers — one undergraduate and one graduate student — to speak on their experience and thoughts about graduating from the U.

The deadline for applications is March 10. Those interested need to submit a three-minute drafted speech with their department or program affiliation to Emily Bennett, spokesperson for CSBS, at emily.bennett@csbs.utah.edu. Soft requirements include being comfortable speaking in front of people and relating stories. To determine the final speeches, the committee will have three to four candidates present speeches to them.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you to share your story with the rest of your graduating class,” Bennett said.

Topics typically include family members, fellow students and professors who made an impact and experiences overcoming struggles.

Rob Kent de Grey, a graduate instructor at the U, spoke at his CSBS convocation. He said he avoided an “egocentric” speech and chose instead to highlight one of his academic guides.

“Mine was focused on one of my mentors, Dr. Carol Werner, who retired last year, and has worked in environmental psychology for decades,” Kent de Grey said. “It was much more interesting to talk about her than about myself.”

On average 10 to 15 people submit speeches each year to CSBS, which Bennett said is expected to increase because of the new open submissions process.

“Whatever the reason,” Bennett said, “speaking at these convocations is one of those opportunities that, after graduation, people kick themselves for not doing.”

If graduating in a different department, contact your college’s administration for information about speech applications and procedures.




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