About Feature 1

Jewett Competition

The Commencement Address

Commencement is an exciting time for everyone involved. This address should reflect the emotions represented. Keep the following suggestions in mind:

  • You are representing your entire class, and you speak for all of its members.
  • Be selective in your choice of materials. From all of your college experiences, choose those that were truly significant for you and your class.
  • Sincerity is important. You must really believe what you are saying.
  • Use specific illustrations and examples. There are what Aristotle called "the lifeblood" of the speech, and help to hold the audience's attention. Building upon what you have learned in classes is appropriate. The audience will be interested on your studies.
  • A little humor, carefully and gently used, helps to ease tensions and is usually welcomed by the audience.
  • The use of appropriate quotations and a bit of good poetry or pertinent prose help to make what you say memorable.
  • Follow a clearly delineated structure:
    • Talk about the past: Praise those who have contributed to the class. Mention significant group experiences, events, speakers, or highlights of your college career. Show the value of belonging to this class.
    • Talk about the future: We have a responsibility to use our education to make this world a better place. Consider what we must do with our education and advantages. Connect your education to your future.
  • A powerful, memorable, meaningful conclusion will set the tone for the day. An apt quotation, short illustration, or appropriate bit of poetry may help make the point.

The Guidelines

The oration must be original work and must be written and delivered by the contestant. Any type of speech is acceptable (informative, inspirational, persuasive) as well as any subject matter as long as it has the depth and dignity which reflect the tone of the commencement. The speech should be 5-7 minutes long and should be memorized, although the manuscript may be taken to the platform.

The finalists will be chosen on the basis of the content of their orations and their style of delivery. The student should bring an extra copy of the manuscript to the selection contest. This is to endure that the oration used at the contest is the same as the one used in the commencement program. Minor corrections and improvements may be made, but the topic, the main ideas and the theme must remain the same.

If you have further questions, please contact Prof. Jane Dailey, APR, at x 4805 or jd001@marietta.edu.