Commencement Speaker Advisory Group – Albright College

Commencement Speaker Advisory Group

Commencement Speaker Advisory Group Charge

The By-laws of the Board of Trustees state that the Board of Trustees has the responsibility and authority to approve all earned and honorary degrees through the faculty and the President, as they shall recommend (Article I, Section 2, 13). The following procedure has been established to provide for a Commencement Speaker Advisory Group to provide advice and counsel on discharging that responsibility.

Albright College utilizes an inclusive process to elicit nominations and review potential commencement speakers. The president of the College holds the authority and responsibility to invite the commencement speaker to campus. Through this process, it may be determined that that the advisory group, president, faculty, and Board of Trustees would also like to bestow an honorary degree on the commencement speaker.

Commencement Speaker Advisory Group Membership

  1. The chair of the Board of Trustees shall appoint a Board member to serve as the chair on the Commencement Speaker Advisory Group.
  2. In consultation with the chair of the Advancement Committee, the chair of the Board shall appoint members of the Board of Trustees to serve on the Advisory Group.
  3. Advisory Group members shall consist of trustees and/or emeritus trustees, faculty, staff and student representatives. Trustee and/or emeritus trustee members will rotate simultaneous with board committee assignments. Faculty are appointed by the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC). Staff are appointed by the Vice President for Advancement.  The student representatives are appointed by the President of the Student Government Association (SGA).
  4. The Advisory Group consists of a minimum of three trustees and/or emeritus trustees, four faculty members, two staff members, and two student representatives.  All members of the Advisory Group are voting members.

Commencement Speaker Advisory Group Charge Authority and Responsibility

  1. The Advisory Group is charged with advancing commencement speakers to the president and honorary degree candidates for consideration to the Advancement Committee.
  2. The College seeks nominations for Commencement Speakers, who are then considered for an honorary degree.

Commencement Speaker Nomination and Approval Process

  1. A Commencement Speaker electronic nomination form is disseminated by the Provost via email to the college community, including all faculty, staff, and students in September.
    1. Submission of a nomination does NOT ensure its successful outcome. Accordingly, it is critical that the potential candidate is NOT informed that a nomination is under consideration.
  2. The Advisory Group deliberates and ranks nominations.
    1. Only completed electronic nomination forms will be presented to the Advisory Group for their consideration.
    2. Outcomes of the consideration of a potential candidate may include approval or decline.
  3. Consideration of the following areas of accomplishments include:
  • Exemplary commitment to the human endeavor and/or creative scholarly work
  • Outstanding creative achievement or distinguished public service
  • Have a deep appreciation for the liberal arts and how this education can make a significant contribution to the world
  • Set an example for and inspire our students and community
  • Preference given for a connection to Albright College (not required)
  1. The Advisory Group will vote to approve the candidates as a potential commencement speaker and honorary degree recipient.
  2. The president, in consultation with the advisory group, will determine which potential commencement speakers will be considered for the following year, with the goal of identifying three.

Awarding an Honorary Degree to Confirmed Commencement Speaker

  1. In order to award an honorary degree to the commencement speaker the candidates shall be presented to the faculty for consideration and approval.
    1. The Advancement Office will provide a candidate profile to the Advisory Group faculty member identified to bring the information to the faculty.
    2. A faculty member of the Advisory Group shall present the candidate’s name and profile at a faculty meeting.
    3. A faculty member of the Advisory Group shall place an action item to vote on the candidates on the faculty meeting agenda at the subsequent faculty meeting.
  2. If the faculty recommends the honorary degree nomination, the Advisory Group moves the candidate’s name to be placed before the Advancement Committee for approval and action.
  3. If the faculty does not approve a nomination, then the commencement speaker will not be offered an honorary degree.
  4. Preliminary consideration of candidates for Honorary Degrees is conducted with a high degree of confidentiality appropriate to matters of personnel. Only the President of the College may authorize the public announcement of Honorary Degree recipients.
  1. The President will reach out to one of the approved commencement speakers to confirm willingness to serve in this role. If an honorary degree was recommended and approved, then this would be discussed as well. Only the President can announce the commencement speaker.

Review of Nominations by the Commencement Speaker Advisory Group

  1. Each academic year the Advisory Group will review new nominations from the community for commencement speakers. Nominations that were not those recommended by the Advisory Group will not hold over from year to year. The Advisory Group will keep historical information regarding the names submitted from previous years.
  2. The top candidates recommended by the Advisory Group and presented to the faculty will remain on the Commencement Speaker Advisory Group Recommended List for consideration in subsequent years with the notation of if they were approved by the faculty for an honorary degree.


  1. The Advisory Group shall meet each October. There will be a December meeting date held, but only utilized if necessary.
  2. A special meeting may be called at the discretion of the chair of the Advisory Group in consultation with the chair of the Advancement Committee.
  • A quorum shall consist of a majority of the voting members.

Content from the Statement of Roles and Responsibilities for the Commencement Speaker Advisory Group of the Advancement Committee of the Board of Trustees approved October 20, 2018