Speakers Who Inspire

Hearing “Pomp and Circumstance” as you process to your seat is usually the first sign that you’re not dreaming...your graduation day has really arrived. Then our Commencement speakers help you survey your accomplishments and turn your thoughts toward the possibilities that lie ahead. Over the past three or four decades, it’s become customary for ceremonies to feature a special, advice-granting guest. At the Commencement ceremony, a selected student also takes the podium.

The guest and student Commencement speakers are announced in the spring.

Our Past Guest Speakers

Past guest speakers at Commencement have had strong connections with our state, our city, and our school. We’ve brought Indiana Fever WNBA star and children's advocate Tamika Catchings to the podium, as well as Sarah Evans Barker, the first female federal judge in Indiana.

Journalist and author A’Lelia Bundles, surrounded by faculty and staff, smiles as she puts on her commencement cap before speaking.

Our stage has been graced by award-winning journalist and author, A’Lelia Bundles (left), who wrote On Her Own Ground: The Life and Times of Madam C. J. Walker, about her great-great grandmother (the book that inspired the Netflix series “Self Made,” starring Octavia Spencer). And chemist and businessman John C. Lechleiter offered knowledge from his life experience as the president, chief executive officer, and chairman of the board of directors of Eli Lilly and Company.