Senior Emily Kindelspire was chosen as the class of 2014’s undergraduate student commencement speaker last week by way of the university’s new nomination process.
After being elected a finalist from a pool of 15 nominees, a panel of six committee members chose Kindelspire after she presented her complete speech to them last Wednesday.
Kindelspire, a justice and peace and family studies double major and women’s studies minor, said she is honored to be able to address the graduating class with a message that she feels was central to her college experience.
“(My speech) has to do with, essentially, giving back—recognizing what we’ve been given and giving back, but in the context of like an education and being part of a very tiny minority of the global population with a college education,” Kindelspire said.
While at St. Thomas, Kindelspire served as VISION’s co-director and has been involved with FEMCOM and Green Dot.
Senior Melissa Seymour said she nominated Kindelspire because she is someone who could challenge St. Thomas students to follow through with the university’s mission statement after graduation.
“I nominated Emily because she does everything she can to make our campus a safer place for everyone,” Seymour said. “She is very committed to social justice issues and bettering the world. She doesn’t just talk the talk; she walks the walk.”
Moving forward, Kindelspire will work with professor Debra Peterson in the communication and journalism department on speech techniques until the commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 24.
In previous years, the Tommie Award recipient has addressed the graduating class at the ceremony, but that process was modified this year to allow the St. Thomas community to nominate seniors who hold at least a 3.0 GPA and who are in good standing with the university.
Vern Klobassa, director of student engagement, said the university will continue to use the new nomination process in the future.
“I think the new process went very well,” Klobassa said. “We have heard nothing but positive feedback from students, staff and faculty.”
Briggs LeSavage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.