Graduation Speech by Graduate
It can be difficult to make a graduation speech because there are, invariably, various different groups of people present that you want to include and appeal to. Fellow graduates, parents, professors and lecturers…all watching and listening.
Preparing Your Graduation SpeechIt is a good idea to start by thinking about your audience and what type of impression you want to make on them. This is likely to be affected by the type of course that you are graduating from; if you have just completed a fashion degree at a renowned college, your speech would be very different to if you have just graduated from a law degree.
Use this article as a guide and you will be able to add in suitable references as befits your audience and subject. If you have also played a particular role in university life – extracurricular activities that have been keen to your experience, it is a good idea to mention it, too. Practise your speech a few times, ideally in front of someone whose opinion you trust and can give you some direction, if required.
Template for a Graduation Speech Made by a GraduateHere is a template which includes guidance on structure and pointers for what to say:
1. IntroductionIntroduce the speech with some comments on your role as graduation speaker and the ceremony itself:
- That you are honoured to be making this speech
- Pleased to have come to the end of a challenging experience
- Thank your lecturers and professors
- Pleased to be in front of so many fellow graduates and their families
- How much you have learnt
Example: Ladies and gentlemen, I am honoured to be standing before you, as a graduate of (subject) at this esteemed university. I am proud to have come to the end of a challenging and enlightening four years, thanks largely to my lecturers, professors and fellow students.
This moment marks an important chapter in our lives. The last four years have been all about learning, growing and discovering and it is time to take what we have learnt into the wider world.
2. Main Body of the SpeechAlthough you will not want to sound too grandiose or self-congratulatory, you do need to be the voice of your fellow graduates. You will have been chosen to make this speech because your professors feel that you can convey an important message on this significant occasion. Remember that when you are practising your speech, what can sound a little over the top in your living room in front of your best friend, actually sounds totally appropriate in a room full of professors and graduates in gowns and mortar boards.
- Express how you are keen to get into the world of work
- Show how your university has prepared you for the next step
- Explain how you will continue to learn
Example: Some of us have already secured our first step on the career ladder; others plan to take time to appreciate which life direction they want to head in. We all share the same responsibility – to use what we have learned here to the best of our abilities, to take the fruits of our efforts and plant them in a new field, to watch our lives and our minds grow.
University life here at (name of university) has given us a considerable benefit to the start of our working lives; we’ve been challenged, encouraged and supported. We must promise ourselves that we will use these gifts when we leave and continue to learn even though we are no longer students.
3. Conclude Your SpeechAs there will be other speakers, often including an honorary graduate and various members of the faculty, you do not need to speak for very long. Around five minutes is plenty, but do check with the organisers of the ceremony in case longer or shorter is expected. Conclude by looking forward to continued success and thanking your faculty.
- Plans for the future
- Thanks to those as appropriate
Example: As we graduate from (name of university), we become part of the distinguished alumni. We will all remember fondly our university days and this ceremony will come to mark many hours of study, discussion and frustration. We have earned this day and we will take this feeling with us as we more forward with our lives.
I would like to thank the faculty for their continued inspiration and, to each and every one of you, congratulations on achieving your degree.