Fall Valedictorian

This is an opportunity for graduating students to nominate a fellow graduating student – undergraduate or graduate – who you think best represents the student community at McMaster.

Download the Nomination Package.

Three valedictorians – one for each convocation ceremony – will be chosen, based on

  • High academic achievement
  • Potential and demonstrated leadership (personal, academic, volunteerism)
  • Communication skill

Important Dates

  1. August 15 - Nomination Packages* available
  2. September 29 - Deadline to submit nominations
  3. TBA - Interview/presentation period for selected nominees

Eligibility & Criteria

  • Open to all graduating full-time and part-time undergraduate and graduate students who are in good standing
  • One Valedictorian for each of the following convocation ceremonies will be selected:
    • Thursday, November 17, 2016, 9:30 a.m. Faculties of Business, Humanities, Social Sciences, and Arts & Science program
    • Thursday, November 17, 2016, 2:30 p.m. Faculty of Health Sciences
    • Friday, November 18, 2016, 9:30 a.m. Faculties of Engineering and Science
  • Valedictorians will speak at the convocation in which they graduate
  • Valedictorians will write and deliver an address (no longer than 5 minutes) to fellow graduates, faculty, honoured guests, family and friends attending the convocation ceremony
  • Valedictorians will demonstrate high academic achievement, leadership and communication skills


Download the Nomination Package.

Nomination Package Requirements

Nominees must include the following with their nomination:

  • A complete Nomination Form.
  • Maximum 2-page letter outlining why the nominee accepts the nomination of Valedictorian (written by nominee), which speaks to the nominee's academic achievements, leadership, and reason for wanting to be Valedictorian.
  • One copy of the nominee's Curriculum Vitae.
  • Two letters of reference: both letters should speak to the nominee's academic achievements, leadership, communication ability, and appropriateness as Valedictorian. At least one letter must come from a faculty member; letters from members of the valedictorian selection committee will not be accepted.

Eligible Nominators

  1. One undergraduate or graduate student graduating during the Fall 2015 convocation is eligible to nominate a fellow student graduating during the Fall 2015 convocation.
  2. Nominations must be for students eligible to graduate in the same convocation session as the nominator (e.g., morning for Business, Engineering, Humanities, and Social Sciences; afternoon for Health Sciences and Science).

Eligible Secondary Nominators

  1. Two secondary nominators are required.
  2. At least one secondary nominator must be eligible to graduate in the same convocation session as the nominator.

In addition, the other secondary nominator may be one of the following: Dean, Associate Dean, Chair, Chair/ Director, Supervisors or Members of the Graduate Council or Members of Scholarship Selection Committees

Note: Valedictorian Selection Committee members are not eligible to nominate students for Valedictorian

Selection Process

Selection Committees are comprised of both faculty and students from the following areas of campus:

  1. 2-4 Associate Deans (Graduate) from the relevant set of Faculties, or designates
  2. 1 faculty member from each relevant Faculty appointed by the Associate Vice-President and Dean (Graduate Studies) in consultation with the appropriate Faculty Deans;
  3. 1 graduate student from each of the relevant Faculties, appointed by the Graduate Student Association;
  4. The MSU Vice President Education, or designate.

Download the Terms of Reference for the Valedictorian Selection Committee now.

The Selection Committee will focus on the following three areas: Academic Achievements, Leadership, and Communication

Academic Achievement:

  • High academic achievement is required. Academic achievement includes both performance in any undergraduate or graduate-level courses and evidence of potential and demonstrated excellence in research.


  • Potential and demonstrated leadership is defined according to the same criteria as those set out by the Tri-Councils, which includes, but is not limited to:

Personal achievement

  • Professional involvement in dance, arts, music, etc.;
  • Significant artistic achievement;
  • Recognized athletic achievement, especially in a leadership role;
  • Entrepreneurial achievement (startup company);
  • and/or foreign travel and study.

Involvement in academic life

  • Mentoring/ teaching;
  • Supervisory experience;
  • Involvement in student government and in the university community, including committees, teams, Senate, boards, ethics committees, etc.;
  • Project management;
  • Roles in professional societies; and/or organization of conferences and meetings.

Volunteerism/ community outreach

  • Community involvement in charity or not-for-profit organizations;
  • Civic engagement;
  • Parliamentary page positions and internships;
  • Political activity;
  • and/or elected positions.


  • Candidates selected from nominations based on Academic Achievement and Leadership will be invited to an interview with the appropriate selection committee. During this interview, nominees will be required to present the speech they would give should they be selected as the Valedictorian (speeches are to be no longer than a maximum of 5 minutes), and the committee may ask additional questions.

Notification Process

  • Based on evaluation of the nomination packages, the Selection Committees will determine which nominees will be invited to interview and present their speech to the committee and nominees will be contacted by email with an invitation.
  • After the interview process, the successful candidate(s) will be contacted by email.
  • Those who were selected for an interview but were not selected as Valedictorian will receive an email message informing them of the committee's decision.
  • An e-mail will be sent to the Valedictorian's nominator, as well as the Dean and Chair of the program/department from which the Valedictorian is graduating.

Convocation Ceremonies

For more about Fall Convocation ceremonies »

Additional Resources

CV Guidelines »
2015 Fall Convocation, McMaster University on YouTube »
2014 Fall Convocation, McMaster University on YouTube »
2013 Fall Convocation, McMaster University on YouTube »
2012 Fall Convocation, McMaster University on YouTube »
2011 Fall Convocation, McMaster University on YouTube »


Contact the Graduate Student Life Team at gsevent@mcmaster.ca

 * The Nomination Package will have the latest and most up-to-date information.