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Honorary Degree Recipients and Speakers

Michigan State University’s all-time winningest football coach and accomplished leaders will join in celebrating the achievements of more than 9,000 Spartan graduates during the university’s spring semester commencement ceremonies April 26.

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Undergraduate Student Speakers

The Senior Class Council will select a graduating senior to represent the Class of 2024 at the Undergraduate Convocation Ceremony. Speeches are to be no more than five minutes and should be attention-grabbing, personally meaningful and engaging to your fellow graduating seniors. The Council memo and application for the Spring 2024 semester are available below. Materials must be submitted no later than Friday, March 15, 2024 at 5:00 p.m

Council Memo Application

Speaker Recommendations

We invite Michigan State University undergraduate and graduate students to submit names of notable persons for consideration as speakers at the central undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies. The nominees should be individuals whose accomplishments and values are exemplary. The speaker selections should enhance the ceremonies without deflecting attention from the graduates, whose academic achievements are being recognized. 

Guidelines for selection, as defined by past student committees, include the following:

  1. Someone having broad appeal. A speaker who will recognize that the commencement audience is a large group of individuals with a diverse range of values, interests and concerns.
  2. The speaker will deliver an appropriate message. Keep in mind that the commencement address is unidirectional. The audience does not respond.
  3. Someone who is motivational.
  4. Someone with name or with national and/or international standing.
  5. Someone who is considered an exemplary role model.
  6. Someone who is interesting and engaging.

Lists of nominees will be compiled and shared with the president. Final selections rest with the president of the university. Please be aware that identifying and securing external speakers is a complex process involving many considerations and requiring a firm commitment on the part of those invited. 

Please include with your recommendation a brief identification of the individual being nominated and the ceremony (graduate or undergraduate; semester and year) for which you are nominating the person. Be aware that selection and arrangements normally take a minimum of six months to complete. 

Email recommendations to

Graduate getting hooded during commencement ceremony


Honorary Degrees

For guidelines, instructions and forms, and a list of past MSU Honorary Degree recipients, please visit the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at

How to refer to your honorary degree.

Past Commencement Speakers