Today's Update: Thursday, February 29, 2024

February 29, 2024

Dear Student Life team, 

You may have wondered how the speakers for Ohio State’s Commencements are chosen. It may not surprise you that there is a committee for that. And I’m looking for someone to represent Student Life on it.  

Of all the incredible events that take place at Ohio State, one of my favorites that I look forward to every autumn, spring and summer is the commencement ceremony. It represents the culmination of years of hard work, resiliency and growth for our students and a time for our campus community, alongside students’ families and supporters, to celebrate their accomplishments and wish them well as they embark on their chosen careers or further academic study. 

The ceremony also includes an invited speaker who gives parting words of inspiration to our graduates as they close one chapter of their life before beginning another. From Presidents of the United States to distinguished members of our faculty and staff, the list of past speakers represents a wide range of professions and backgrounds, and each has brought their diverse experiences and perspectives to the messages they have shared. 

As a part of the speaker selection process, the Commencement Speaker Advisory Committee that is co-convened by our very own Dean Danny Glassmann and Dr. Nicole Nieto, Assistant Vice Provost for Outreach and Engagement, actively engages our campus community to submit speaker nominations and works collaboratively to develop a prioritized slate of recommended candidates for each ceremony. The committee is comprised of a number of representatives from across the campus community that includes faculty, staff and students. 

For the past 10 years, yes 10 years (!!!), Dr. Matt Couch, Associate Dean of Students, has served as the Student Life representative on the committee and deserves our biggest High Five and appreciation for his long tenure and dedication to this committee. After a decade, Matt agrees that it seems like a good time for someone else to have the opportunity of representing Student Life on this important campus-wide committee. 

If you are interested or would like to nominate someone to serve on the committee, please send those to Dean Glassmann.5 by 5 p.m. on Monday, March 4.  Apologies for the short notice as the committee begins the review and selection process very soon. We are looking for someone who can serve for 1-2 years (thanks again Matt for going above and beyond!) and be an active member of the group. 

Thank all of you in advance for your thoughtful consideration. I look forward to hearing from future Commencement speakers who will be chosen through this process, and I appreciate the committee’s Scarlet and Great work.  


Melissa S. Shivers, PhD
Senior Vice President for Student Life 
The Ohio State University