Commencement Speech Competition

Each year at the Harvard Commencement, three graduating students speak to approximately 32,000 students, faculty, parents, alumni/ae, and guests. As soon as the first anthem concludes, a senior strides to the microphone and announces, Salvete omnes! What follows is one of the oldest of Harvard traditions - an oration in Latin. Then a graduating senior, followed by a representative from one of the graduate or professional schools, deliver speeches in English. The original purpose of these speeches was to defend one’s thesis but, over time, topics have broadened and may now address important issues, current events, or lessons learned from personal experiences at Harvard or in the wider world.

The deadline for students to submit speeches has passed.

Students whose speeches have been selected by the judges will be notified of the time and place of the preliminary auditions, scheduled on Tuesday, April 22. Final auditions will take place on Tuesday, April 29.


Prize: $1,000 in each category

(Undergraduate English, Undergraduate Latin, Graduate English)