Student and Academic Life

May 2021 Commencement Student Speaker Application Now Open

Ndeye Matou Amar, December 2019 Student Speaker
Ndeye Matou Amar, December 2019 student speaker. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 19, 2021) — Following school tradition, the University of Kentucky May 2021 Commencement ceremonies will feature a student speaker to deliver a three-to five-minute address to those physically in attendance and those participating virtually.

Applications are available online at and are accepted now through 5 p.m. EDT Friday, April 16.

Students interested in applying must be a May 2021 graduate participating in person at the ceremonies. Interviews will be held the week of April 26 and are flexible to be scheduled around the applicant's existing commitments.  

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.

Also, applicants must have contributed to the university through campus and community activities or through their chosen field of study and present evidence of demonstrated public speaking ability. Applicants must be willing to present their address to the Commencement Speaker Selection Committee and be available for a possible short interview and speech demonstration.

As previously announced, the university will hold in-person ceremonies for May 2021 graduates at Rupp Arena over the weekend of May 14-16. May, August and December 2020 graduates are invited to participate along with May 2021 graduates. 

The deadline to register to participate in May 2021 Commencement, either in-person or virtual, is 5 p.m. EDT Friday, March 26. For more information regarding registration, please visit

Please contact the Commencement graduate assistant, Sally Martin, at for any additional questions.

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.