Graduation to have its first student speaker


Image: Elizabeth Tammi

SGA President Elizabeth McKay and Vice President Aaron Scherf conduct a weekly Senate meeting.

Rylee Kirk, Staff Writer

After Nancy Grace’s Founder’s Day speech on Feb. 8, Student Government Association President Elizabeth McKay announced a new Mercer tradition: a student speaker at graduation.

”No one can better relate to the class than someone that is graduating with them,” said McKay.

The idea was brought forth by a student and received “positive feedback from students and President Underwood,” McKay said.

Senior and global health major Andrew Hearn agrees.

“I think student speakers have the potential to keep graduation lively with a familiar face you frequently pass on Cruz Plaza,” Hearn said in an email.

Hearn also wrote that having a student speak at convocation will “communicate that new Mercer graduates have thoughts worth listening to.”

Applications to speak at commencement were sent out the week Feb. 13 and are to be sent to Dean Hammond. The application includes some short questions including why the student wishes to speak. Applicants will also have to submit a general outline of what they wish to say.

The speaker will be selected by three faculty members and three senior students. They will examine the applicants and select someone who will not only be well spoken but also has “a compelling message or story to share with their fellow peers.”

When this idea was brought forward it was noted that students did not wish to add to the length of commencement. The additional speaker will speak for three to four minutes, which will be “enough time to add that personal touch to the ceremony without dramatically increasing the length” McKay wrote.

The application was attached to an email sent to all seniors by the Senior Class President, Millie Smith. The application is due by Feb. 28 at 5 p.m.