Opening Convocation Student Speaker

Apply to speak at the 126th 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 2020, new transfer students, and their families, at the 126th Opening Convocation Ceremony on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. The Selection Committee is looking for a student speaker who can comfortably and confidently share their "Stanford story."

Elements of one's story may include, but are not limited to:

  • connections made with faculty, staff, and peers,
  • narratives describing experiences and opportunities,
  • reflections on personal development and growth, and
  • academic and/or social discoveries over the course of one's journey at Stanford.

Convocation speakers include: President John Hennessy, 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.

  • Thursday, February 4, 12:00-1:00 pm, Sweet Hall Room 118 
  • Wednesday, February 10, 4:00-5:00 pm: Sweet Hall Room 118


  • All current Stanford undergraduate students 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.
  • To review past student convocation speeches, you may watch the Convocation videos from previous years on Stanford's YouTube channel:

Selection Process

  • Written speech submissions must be emailed to Edith Wu-Nguyen, by 8:00 am on Monday, February 22. In addition to your speech, please include your resume, contact information, and summer whereabouts.
  • 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, if needed) on Friday, March 4, between 12:00-1:00 pm.
  • The final selection will be based on content and presentation style.


  • Monday, February 22: Written speech submission deadline by 8:00 am
  • Tuesday, March 1: Revised speech submission deadline by 8:00 am
  • March 4, 12:00-1:00 pm: Finalist Interviews
  • By April 1: Student speaker selected
  • Spring - August: Work with University Communications to refine speech (via email)
  • Sunday, September 18: Early Arrival move-in to campus residence (Early Arrival Housing and Dining provided if you will have on-campus housing for the 2016-17 academic year)
  • Monday, September 19: Convocation rehearsal
  • Tuesday, September 20: 126th Opening Convocation in the Main Quad


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