A student speaker is a selected representative from the Graduation cohort who delivers a speech to their peers, guests and university staff.

Benefits of being a student speaker

As a student speaker, you’ll have the opportunity to address your peers, guests and university staff at one of the year's most prestigious events. Your speech will contribute to a fulfilling and memorable day for all those attending. It’s a rare achievement that will enhance your CV.

As a student speaker at one of our in person ceremonies, you’ll also receive an exclusive Graduation package. This includes:

  • An invite to the VIP room before the ceremony
  • VIP seating for your guests
  • Free academic dress hire
  • Free professional photography

You’ll also receive training in writing and delivering speeches.

Applying to be a student speaker

Applications for the 2023 student speakers are now available and will be accepted via the 2023 Student Speaker Application Form. The deadline for applications is midnight on 3 February 2023. 

Before submitting an application please ensure that you:

  • Carefully read and consider the student speaker information below, including the terms of the speech and mandatory training dates
  • Check to see if you have committed to any events which may occur during the training and preparation stage to ensure, as far as possible, you can attend the mandatory training and have the time to develop your speech
  • Consider any possible eventualities which might impact your ability to fulfil your responsibilities as a student speaker. 

Student Speaker Information

Thank you for your interest in being the Student Speaker for your Graduation Ceremony. 

Graduation is a very important day to students, their guests and the University. If you are selected your speech will contribute to providing a fulfilling and memorable day for all those attending. 

The ceremony is a formal celebration of achievement. Speakers are therefore committing to engage in a professional process, speaking on behalf of their cohort to celebrate their time at university, their achievements, and to thank the University and its services on behalf of all the students at the ceremony. 

The audience is made up of peers, family, friends, University staff and also the wider public. The ceremony, and therefore the speech will be broadcast live on Youtube.

In order for you to be selected, your speech needs to fulfil certain requirements and you need to commit to attending mandatory training events. These are set out in the ‘Terms of the Speech’  and ‘Mandatory Training’ sections below. Please consider them carefully before applying.  

As part of the application process, you will be asked to provide an outline of what you would like to say. Please follow the terms of the speech. You may feel that these are somewhat restrictive, however these are in place to ensure that student speeches are inclusive and accessible for all those present. 

TIP: Please see University of Portsmouth 2021 graduation student speeches for examples of how unique, personal, inspiring and powerful the speeches can be. 

TIP: Avoid American examples of student speeches, speech-writing how-to instructions or examples. These are not in line with UK student speeches.

If you’d like to find out more about being a Student Speaker, go to any MyPort Hub to arrange to speak to your Student and Academic Administration Manager. 

Hear from our former student speakers

"I can't believe how supportive everyone was and how much they liked it!"

"The whole experience has been life-changing for me!"

Former student speaker

In order to be successful the Student Speech needs to reflect some key elements, these are outlined below.

  1. Speeches should be no more than two minutes in length.
  2. Selected speakers understand that they are speaking on behalf of all Graduates attending the Ceremony to celebrate and thank the University.
  3. Speeches should show appreciation of positive experiences, achievement, the University, academics and professional service staff.
  4. The content and vocabulary used should be positive, appreciative, uplifting, and suitable for a formal celebratory ceremony.
  5. Speeches can use your personal experience, but it must be brief and used to highlight positive experiences and/or feelings which apply, as far as possible, to all Graduates attending.
  6. Speeches must not refer to individual family members, staff or others.
  7. Speeches must not thank “families and friends” or “loved ones” or refer to their presence at the Ceremony (as some Graduates won’t have anyone to celebrate with).
  8. Jokes must not be included, but humour is encouraged as long as it fits the tone and formality of the occasion and is accessible to all.
  9. The complexity of the ceremony means that visual aids or other items should not be used.

Please note the University reserves the right to require amendments to content which does not meet the terms of the speech, or withdraw speakers if they have difficulties adhering to the terms of the speech.

Speakers are committing to engage in a professional process, where it is mandatory that Speakers complete the training, which consists of the below.

  1. A workshop on planning and preparing your speech
  2. A workshop on public speaking, voice and space
  3. A minimum of three one-to-one mentoring sessions with ASK
  4. A practice session in front of an audience
  5. A technical rehearsal
  6. Any further sessions required by ASK

The dates for the mandatory training and deadlines for 2023 student speakers are outlined below. Please note the University reserves the right to withdraw speakers if mandatory sessions are not attended, or deadlines are not met.

Activity Date Action
Workshop on Planning and Preparing your Speech 13 March 2023, 14.00 - 15.00
or 14 March 2023, 14.00 - 15.00
University Learning Centre

 

Your attendance at one of these sessions is mandatory
First Draft of Speech Deadline 26 May 2023 Send your first draft to gradutation@port.ac.uk
Workshop on Public Speaking, Voice and Space 21 June 2023, 14.30 - 16.30
or 22 June 2023, 10.00 - 12.00
University Learning Centre
Your attendance at one of these sessions is mandatory
1:1 Mentoring March 2023–  June 2023

Your attendance is compulsory at a minimum of two 1:1 (or small group) sessions arranged between ASK and Student Speakers. Phone (023 9284 3462) or email academicskills@port.ac.uk to book your appointment with the ASK Mentoring team. Please ensure you title any emails with 'Student Speakers' in all communications

Final Speech Deadline 30 June 2023 Send the final version of your speech to graduation@port.ac.uk
Practice with an Audience 5 July 2023, 12.00 - 16.30
Park building
Practice with an audience. Your attendance at this session is mandatory.
Technical Rehearsal TBC – early July  Your attendance at this session is mandatory. Please send an

Applications open 12 January to midnight 3 February 2023, any applications received after this time may not be considered.

Before submitting an application please ensure that you:

  1. Carefully read and consider the student speaker information above including the terms of the speech and mandatory training dates.
  2. Check to see if you have committed to any events which may occur during training and preparation process to ensure, as far as possible, that you can attend the mandatory training and have the time to develop your speech.
  3. Consider any possible eventualities which might impact your ability to fulfil your responsibilities as a student speaker.

If you think you have what it takes, complete the Google form to apply. 

Successful students will be notified by the 6 March 2023. We regret that we cannot give further feedback to those who are unsuccessful.