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Commencement 2016

Commencement Speaker Selection

Commencement marks the culmination of a journey that students and faculty have taken together to educate and equip a generation of African American women leaders in the liberal arts and sciences whose intellectual, creative, ethical, and leadership skills will impact their communities and change the world. The entire community joins together in celebrating academic achievements, personal triumphs and a continuing legacy of black excellence.

Suggest a Speaker

The Spelman College Commencement speaker is chosen through an annual selection process. Graduating seniors, faculty, and staff offer speaker suggestions through this website.

Speaker Selection Process

The speaker selection process typically begins more than one year in advance of Commencement.  The chosen speaker joins a long list of distinguished past Commencement speakers who have shared their thoughts, perspectives, and wisdom with graduates, their families and friends, and the faculty and staff who facilitate the journey from admission to graduation.

Speaker Selection Committee

All names submitted through the website are compiled in an alphabetically unranked list and given to the official speaker selection committee composed of

  • Two Senior Class Council members [The Council serves as a voice for the senior class] and their adviser. In addition, the organization gathers suggestions from the class regarding class activities such as graduation and represents class concerns to the Spelman administration.
  • Four additional members of the senior class, one from each Division
  • Two Faculty Marshals (this includes the head marshal)
  • Dean of Students
  • Deputy Chief of Staff to the President


A suggestion for Commencement speaker should be based on the following considerations:

  • Outstanding achievement in an academic field, the arts, business, etc. that align with the Spelman College mission
  • Humanitarian deeds and the degree to which the nominee’s activities have touched various lives
  • Extent to which nominee’s achievement represents sustained efforts over the course of his/her career
  • Extent to which nominee represents an outstanding model for our graduates
  • The honor brought to Spelman should the nominee accept the speaking invitation

Speaker Suggestions for Commencement 2024

For the Media

Request Media Credentials

Denise T. Ward
Associate Vice President for Strategic Communications and Marketing Office: 404-270-5892 Cell: 770-862-4028