Opening Convocation Student Speaker

 2018 speaker Jasmin Kamruddin (credit Tiffany Ong, NSO), convocation flagbearers (credit Nick Salazar, NSO), and 2017 speaker Alexis Kallen (credit Aaron Kehoe, Stanford News Service)

Apply to speak at the 129th Opening Convocation Ceremony during New Student Orientation.


As the sole student speaker among a set of distinguished University officials, you will represent the student body in welcoming to Stanford the members of the Class of 2023, new transfer students, and their families, at the 129th Opening Convocation Ceremony on Wednesday, September 18, 2019. The Selection Committee is looking for a student speaker who can comfortably and confidently share your "Stanford story."

What does Stanford mean to you? Elements of your story may include, but are not limited to:

  • reflections on your personal values,  development, and growth,
  • narratives describing meaningful experiences and opportunities,
  • connections made with faculty, staff, and peers, and
  • personal discoveries over the course of your journey at Stanford.

Convocation speakers include: President Marc Tessier-Lavigne, Senior Vice Provost for Education Harry Elam, Jr., Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Richard Shaw, and the Student Speaker.

Information Sessions

Prospective applicants are encouraged to attend an info session to learn more about the process. 

  • Friday, April 12, 12:00 - 12:30 p.m. in Sweet Hall room 118
  • Tuesday, April 16, 4:30 - 5:00 p.m. in Sweet Hall room 118

Guidelines & Eligibility

  • All Stanford undergraduate students who will be enrolled in Autumn 2019 are eligible for consideration, with preference given to upperclass students (juniors, seniors, and co-terms).
  • Speeches should have a word count of between 625-700 words.
  • Speech content should uniquely represent the “student voice”. Applicants should include their personal experiences in relating the student perspective.

Application Submission & Selection Process

  • Complete applications must be emailed as a PDF file to Edith Wu-Nguyen,, by 8:00 am, May 1.
  • A complete application consists of:
    • Written speech submission (625-700 words) with your full name on each page,
    • Resume with contact information and summer plans, if known,
    • Your full name on the PDF file name (example: "Jane Stanford - 2019 Convocation Speech Application".)
  • The Selection Committee will review the submissions and invite selected applicants to revise their speeches based on specific feedback.
  • After reviewing revised speeches, selected applicants will be invited to give an oral presentation in person (or via Skype/video, if off campus).
  • The final selection will be based on content and presentation style.


  • Wednesday, May 1: Written speech submission deadline by 8:00 am
  • Monday, May 13 (tentative) : Revised speech submission deadline by 8:00 am
  • Week of May 20 (tentative): Finalist Interviews
  • By June 15: Student speaker selected
  • Summer: Work with University Communications to refine speech (via email)
  • Monday, September 16: Early Arrival move-in to campus residence (Early Arrival Housing and Dining provided if you will have on-campus housing for the 2019-20 academic year)
  • Tuesday, September 17: Convocation rehearsal
  • Wednesday, September 18: 129th Opening Convocation at 4:00 p.m. in the Main Quad

Convocation Videos

To review past student convocation speeches, you may watch the Convocation videos from previous years on Stanford's YouTube channel:


Edith Wu-Nguyen
Associate Dean & Director of New Student Programs
Academic Advising