September 9, 2019

Nominations for Fall Valedictorian close September 26

Make the valedictory address your grand finale as you take to the stage for November's Convocation. 

This fall, changes to the process mean there are additional ways to nominate a valedictorian.

  • Graduating students can nominate a fellow graduating student who they think best represents the student community at McMaster.
  • Student can nominate themselves.
  • Supervisors have an opportunity to nominate PhD and Masters students.

Nominations are open for three valedictorians to be chosen to represent graduating classes – one each for:

  • Faculties of Business, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Arts and Science program 
  • Faculty of Health Sciences 
  • Faculties of Engineering and Science

Deadline to nominate a fellow graduating student is September 26, 2019.

Learn more about eligibility, the process, and download the Nomination Package.

Valedictorians are chosen based on:

  1. High academic achievement.
  2. Potential and demonstrated leadership (personal, academic, volunteerism).
  3. Communication skill.
An experience to remember

Bernice Downey, now acting director of McMaster’s Indigenous Research Institute, stepped to the podium in 2014. She had spent five years at McMaster, working on her PhD in anthropology. The culmination of thousands of hours of research, moments of self-doubt, the isolation of writing ... it all fell away as she took those few steps to the front of the stage.

For Downey, this was one of those times, a moment when she could share her love of academia with those whom she loved the most – her family. And it made her address to the graduating class that much more important.

As an Indigenous scholar, Downey saw the valedictory address as a way to share her reflections.

"To be valedictorian provided a good opportunity to give voice to the Indigenous graduate student experience," she says. "It also afforded me the chance to advocate for systemic change within the academy."

Although the nomination process takes some time and coordination, Downey encourages students to get involved, whether nominating a peer or accepting a nomination.

"The valedictorian experience is a great learning opportunity, so go for it!"

To watch Downey's Valedictory Address and others, look under the Additional Resources tab on the Graduate Studies website Valedictorian page.

Nominations close on September 26. Completed nomination packages should be delivered to the School of Graduate Studies, Gilmour Hall, Room 212

Questions? Contact the Graduate Student Life Team at