A cross-section committee of faculty, students and staff is in the process of selecting student commencement speakers for the undergraduate and ADEP graduation ceremonies in May.
The submissions were due by March 1 and all graduating seniors qualified to participate in the 2013 Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 18 were allowed to submit a speech for evaluation. There was no GPA requirement.
“You don’t want to quantify your experiences as having a GPA and that’s it,” said Aris Mosier, associate director of Student Life and second-year member of the selection committee. “It’s one that can articulate all the things about your experience here at CLU, about the world you’re going into and that can inspire others in that aspect.”
Applicants were required to submit a three to four minute speech. The speech had to be well organized, cohesive and skillfully written. Although the topic is up to the submitter’s discretion, the speech needs to encompass the California Lutheran University experience, taking into consideration the mission of the university, significant world events during the applicant’s college career and a perspective on how CLU’s mission will help impact the world.
The speaker will need to demonstrate an awareness of the intended audience, inspire enthusiasm, pride and thoughtfulness and avoid triteness and stereotyping.
Jane Rider, assistant professor of exercise science, is the current chair of the committee and served on the selection committee last year.
“I think it’s very important, and [they] have just been very dynamic speakers,” said Rider. “Last year, for the ADEP group, we had a former service member and he was just very emotional about his accomplishments and being able to be back in school and all of that. Then, our undergraduate speaker was actually a transfer student.”
Mosier said the committee is open to selecting the best speaker who has had a well-rounded college experience, not necessarily through involvement on campus.
“People are involved in so many things, and they’ve been affected by different inspiring events like study abroad or in community service,” said Mosier. “And sometimes some of those students we may miss because oftentimes it’s through their initiatives outside of school, like they have a great connection with the community in Thousand Oaks or in Ventura County.”
In order to make a well-rounded decision, the committee also includes student representatives.
Lauren Chiappetti, a senior who has served on many committees on campus, was involved with student government and joined the selection committee in order to stay involved.
“It gives a student’s perspective on our time at CLU and what it means,” said Chiappetti. “It’s good to lend their student perspective on what it’s like to go here.”
Chiappetti said the committee is not necessarily looking for a typical graduation speech, but something the graduates and spectators can relate to.
Three or four of the top speech writers will be invited to participate in an audition. The committee will judge on the ability to speak comfortably and confidently, the ability to connect through posture and eye contact and use appropriate vocal qualities.
These auditions will take place during the week of March 18 through 22.
Published March 6, 2013