Skip to content Skip to navigation


Baccalaureate ceremony crowd
June 13, 2015 - 10:00am to 11:00am

Limited seating, no tickets required.

A bookend to students' Opening Convocation held four years earlier, Baccalaureate at Stanford is a multifaith celebratory gathering for graduating seniors, graduate students, and professional students, as well as their families and friends. It is a student-led commemoration acknowledging the spiritual contribution to the education of the whole person, organized under the auspices of the Office for Religious Life (ORL). In addition to lively music from culturally diverse backgrounds, the program includes readings from different communities and perspectives which represent the wide range of religious traditions are represented within the ORL by over 30 organizations of Stanford Associated Religions (SAR).

Baccalaureate Keynote Speaker

Vernon E. Jordan, Jr. is a Senior Managing Director of Lazard Frères & Co. LLC in New York. He works with a diverse group of clients across a broad range of industries. Prior to joining Lazard, Mr. Jordan was a Senior Executive Partner with the law firm of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he remains Senior Counsel. While there Mr. Jordan practiced general, corporate, legislative and international law in Washington, D.C. Before Akin Gump, Mr. Jordan held the following positions: President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Urban League, Inc.; Executive Director of the United Negro College Fund, Inc.; Director of the Voter Education Project of the Southern Regional Council; Attorney-Consultant, U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity; Assistant to the Executive Director of the Southern Regional Council; Georgia Field Director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and an attorney in private practice in Arkansas and Georgia. Mr. Jordan’s presidential appointments include: the President’s Advisory Committee for the Points of Light Initiative Foundation; the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on South Africa; the Advisory Council on Social Security; the Presidential Clemency Board; the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission; the National Advisory Committee on Selective Service; and the Council of the White House Conference “To Fulfill These Rights.” In 1992, Mr. Jordan served as the Chairman of the Clinton Presidential Transition Team. Mr. Jordan’s corporate and other directorships include: American Express Company (Senior Advisor); Asbury Automotive Group, Inc.; Howard University (Trustee); Institute of International Education; Lazard Ltd; Xerox Corporation (Senior Advisor); International Advisory Board of Barrick Gold. Mr. Jordan is a graduate of DePauw University and the Howard University Law School. He holds honorary degrees from more than 70 colleges and universities in America. He is a member of the Bars of Arkansas, the District of Columbia, Georgia and the U.S. Supreme Court. He is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Bar Association, the Council on Foreign Relations and The Bilderberg Meetings. Mr. Jordan is the author of Vernon Can Read! A Memoir (Public Affairs, 2001) and Make It Plain, Standing Up and Speaking Out (Public Affairs, 2008).

Baccalaureate Student Speaker

Be the only student speaker during commencement weekend at Stanford's Baccalaureate ceremony on Saturday, June 13 in the Main Quadrangle.

Graduating Seniors!

How have your experiences at Stanford – personal, moral or spiritual – shaped who you are today and how can your reflections INSPIRE your classmates as they embark upon the next chapter of their lives?

To enter:
  • Speech cannot exceed 600 words.
  • Entries accepted now through Tuesday, April 28, 2015, 11:59 pm.
  • No exceptions to the deadline.
  • Submit your speech in Word format at:
  • Finalists will be contacted on Thursday, April 30 and MUST be available for auditions on Friday, May 1 between 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.
  • $500 prize awarded to the winner.

Past winners and available texts or videos can be found at the Office of Religious Life.

Questions? Contact