Speaker committee receives more than 100 nominations

The Commencement speaker committee, formed this year to increase transparency surrounding the annual event, received 113 nominations for potential speakers, officials confirmed last week.

About 65 percent of nominations came from students in the Class of 2009, said Vice President and General Counsel Beth Nolan, who chairs the committee. Nominations also came from alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends of GW.

The University has yet to release the names up for consideration by the committee, and the process will remain confidential until the speaker is secured, Nolan said.

University spokeswoman Tracy Schario said the committee is still sorting through the submissions.

“At this time, we don’t have specific numbers or breakdown,” she said in reference to duplicates or possible instances of a person nominating the same speaker several times.

The committee is tasked with providing a short list of potential speakers to University President Steven Knapp, who will make further decisions based on the recommendations. There is no timeline for releasing the name of the speaker, but in past years the speaker has been announced in April or May, Schario said.

Executive Vice President of Academic Affairs Donald Lehman said the University has an early deadline for the nominations to ensure that they solidify their first choice.

“Everybody’s got to be realistic. Just because we invite someone doesn’t mean that they are going to accept,” Lehman said. “We are trying to do it early enough so we can get our first choice. I think in the past we waited too long.”

Lehman said in the past the University has sent out invitations around February.

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