Seniors anticipating the moment they will walk across the stage at commencement this spring will listen to some of their handpicked classmates speak on the college experience.
They will also be treated to talks from other high-profile individuals, whose names will be released next week.
“It’s someone I think everyone should be excited for; it’s going to be a worthwhile speech,” senior class president Oliver Delgado said.
During the series of commencement ceremonies that will take over the Kohl Center from May 15 to May 18, seniors Joshua Herman and Jamie Holzhuter will join senior class officers in addressing their class.
Herman, majoring in Hebrew, Jewish studies and philosophy, said he had a friend speak at commencement, sparking his interest in trying out.
He plans to speak on how college shapes students’ characters beyond simply propelling them into the job hunt.
“I think the challenge is that I think all commencement speeches tend to sound the same, so it’s really hard to get up there and [give] one long clich�, so I think that’s what I was a little worried about,” Herman said. “I want it to be funny, and I want to think about things on a deeper level, rather than just the superficial meanings of what the day is.”
According to Delgado, Herman and Holzhuter were chosen out of an initial group of more than 45 students who expressed interest. The officers then narrowed that group down to 10, who actually presented their proposed speeches in person.
“These two speakers are definitely something the student body should look out for,” Delgado said. “Their speeches are so inspiring and so fresh, something people in the audience can really connect to.”
Connecting to the audience is easier said than done, Delgado said, because the challenge of commencement is writing and delivering something able to strike a chord with thousands of people, including both students and their families.
Delgado will also speak during commencement, and said he too grappled with the challenge.
“I want to make sure it’s relatable to the audience … but I also don’t want to have some faux soul-searching kind of speech,” he said. “I want to just make sure it’s genuine, timely and enjoyable; I think those are the most important things that I want to hit.”
Commencement last spring featured alumni Wisconsin Supreme Court Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson and founder of USA Networks Kay Koplovitz.