Commencement Speaker

The Next GMU Commencement Speaker Could be You!

Register for COMM 440 “Special Occasion Speaking” Spring 2017

2014 Spring Commencement

Graduation is just around the corner and the legacy of the 2017 graduating class can live on in them infamy of your words!

In order for the class to be offered you must enroll by by Nov.30th!

Instructor: Jeremy Hodgson (
Prerequisite(s): 90+ hours or permission of instructor


This course will provide an introduction to the various types of special occasion speeches designed to meet the following purposes: entertain, celebrate, commemorate, inspire, or set a social agenda; special attention will be given to the commencement address.  The course will include a discussion of such topics as assessing audience expectations, determining purpose and effect, conducting appropriate research, structuring the special occasion speech, incorporating powerful language/appeals, and developing effective presentation skills.  Students will analyze sample speeches (text and video performances) as well as present several special occasion speeches.  The final special occasion speech assignment will be an audition for selection of the George Mason University 2017 “Student Commencement Speaker.”

Interested?  Check out past commencement speaker video examples:

Spring 2013 Commencement Speaker -Brennan Morris
*(To view: Scroll video to 1:22:15)
“One of the truly wonderful things about George Mason University is that such a rapidly growing and diverse school can also have a profound sense of kinship and community. I think the student commencement speaker makes an important contribution to that balance.  The speaker has the high honor and great responsibility of underscoring some of the amazing accomplishments of the graduating class. While everyone at commencement has a different life story, their paths converge in that event upon a special set of mutual memories and shared anticipations defined by a common bond: they are, and always will be, Mason’s Patriots.”-Brennan

Spring 2014 Commencement Speaker -Zach Eisenstein
*(To view: Scroll video to 1:21:25)
“This was my favorite class at Mason. More than just preparing you to give a commencement speech, this class gives you valuable experience creating speeches you will inevitably have to give at some point in your life–from wedding toasts to eulogies– all the while building long-lasting relationships with fellow classmates.”-Zach

Spring 2016 Commencement Speaker –Andrew Leich  (Speech begins at 1:02:50 on the video )
COMM 440 is uniquely indispensable. The class greets you: ready to tease you with raucous toasts and sobering eulogies. The honest critiques keep you motivated and contribute to a classroom environment which writers and orators alike will appreciate. By the end, the class is still as elevated in energy as it is in anticipation for the commencement speaker selection. COMM 440 has undoubtedly shaped my Mason experience like few courses have and remains a trove of knowledge which is both vast and applicable. I’m sure you’ll find – as I have – that the course is an absolute pleasure to attend. –Andrew

Spring 2017 Commencement Speaker
???Maybe You???

2014 Spring Commencement

If you are not able to be part of the “Special Occasions Speaking” class entries should be sent to the Office of Events Management, MSN 3G3, Merten Hall, Room 2600, by 4:00 pm, Friday, March 31, 2017. Entries may also be emailed to Events Management at

The student speaker for 2017 will be announced in the Spring of 2017.

Good Luck!