Campus News

Applications for May 2020 Commencement Student Speaker Now Open

Graduate speaking at podium
Applications for student speakers will open Saturday, March 1, and will remain open until Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 3, 2020) Following tradition, each of four University of Kentucky Commencement ceremonies in May will feature a selected student speaker to deliver a three- to five-minute address to the graduates in the Class of 2020. Applications for student speakers are being accepted now through Friday, March 27 at 5 p.m.

Students interested in applying must be receiving a degree from UK at one of the May Commencement ceremonies. Applicants must have contributed to the university through campus and community activities or through their chosen field of study. Additionally, candidates must show affirmation of public speaking ability and be willing to present their address to the Commencement Speaker Selection Committee. Interviews for finalists will be held April 1 and 2.

Application materials include a resume with detailed activities, work experience and accomplishments achieved during the applicant's study at UK. A summary of no more than three typed, double-spaced pages of the applicant's proposed speech and a completed online application are required.

Incomplete applications are unable to be considered by the selection committee. Documents are required to be submitted in PDF format with the applicant's first and last name.

Applications are available online at

UK Commencement ceremonies will be held at Rupp Arena.

Friday, May 8:

  • 10 a.m.: College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, College of Communication and Information, Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, College of Public Health
  • 3 p.m.: Gatton College of Business and Economics, College of Fine Arts, College of Health Sciences, College of Nursing, College of Pharmacy

Saturday, May 9:

  • 10 a.m.: College of Arts and Sciences, College of Design, College of Social Work
  • 3 p.m.: College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Medicine - Basic Science Programs

For questions or more information concerning the student speaker application process, please contact Jessica Waters.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.