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Helene Dick to give student Convocation speech

By Molly Chiu     4/15/14 3:30pm

Martel College senior Helene Dick will be the first student Convocation speaker, representing the class of 2014 at the commencement ceremony on Friday, May 16.

Martel College senior Helene Dick will be the first student Convocation speaker, representing the class of 2014 at the commencement ceremony on Friday, May 16.

“It’s an incredible opportunity to give a voice from the undergraduate perspective,” Dick said.



All graduating seniors were invited to apply for the speech, and then a selection committee composed of students and faculty chose a winner based on qualities like creativity and relatability. Former Student Association President Yoonjin Min, who chaired the committee, said they chose Dick because her speech had a unifying theme and shared personal anecdotes while also appealing to a broad audience.

“It also helps that Helene is a fantastic speaker,” Min said. “She has done so much for Rice University in her many roles on campus, but most notably in her work with Willy’s Pub, saving a long-standing Rice tradition.”

Dick said her speech, which has the working title “What It Means to Be a Freshman,” will touch on what it means to start fresh after graduation and what she sees as a unifying factor in the undergraduate experience.

“The topic of my speech is rooted in my experiences this past year as a senior and what it means to be a senior on the verge of your next stage in life,” Dick said. “My goal was to touch on the joy but also the tension that surrounds such a big moment like graduation.”

Dick said she believes the addition of a student speaker to the commencement ceremony has the potential to become an important Rice tradition.

“Rice is very much a student-run place,” Dick said. “It’s for students by students. It’s important to add a student piece to the ceremony. It feels very Rice to me, and I’m incredibly honored. It feels very surreal.”



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