Opening Convocation Student Speaker


 2017 speaker Debnil Sur (credit Linda A. Cicero), convocation flagbearers (credit Nick Salazar), and 2018 speaker Alexis Kallen (credit Aaron Kehoe)

Apply to speak at the 128th 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 2022, new transfer students, and their families, at the 128th Opening Convocation Ceremony on Thursday, September 20, 2018. 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, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Harry Elam, Jr., Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Richard Shaw, and the Student Speaker.

Information Sessions

Prospective applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an info session with members of the Selection Committee to learn more about the process.  Info sessions will be held:

  • Wednesday, April 18, 12:00 – 1:00 pm, Sweet Hall 118
  • Monday, April 23, 4:00 – 5:00 pm, Sweet Hall 118

Guidelines & Eligibility

  • All Stanford undergraduate students who will be enrolled in Autumn 2018 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 2.
  • 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 - 2018 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 2: Written speech submission deadline by 8:00 am
  • Monday, May 14 (tentative) : Revised speech submission deadline by 8:00 am
  • Week of May 21 (tentative): Finalist Interviews
  • By June 15: Student speaker selected
  • Summer: Work with University Communications to refine speech (via email)
  • Tuesday, September 18: Early Arrival move-in to campus residence (Early Arrival Housing and Dining provided if you will have on-campus housing for the 2018-19 academic year)
  • Wednesday, September 19: Convocation rehearsal
  • Thursday, September 20: 128th 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:


For questions, please contact:
Edith Wu-Nguyen
Associate Dean for New and Continuing Student Programs
Undergraduate Advising and Research


OTHer opportunities to participate in NSO