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Student Speaker Award


The Student Speaker Award is given to one master’s student and one bachelor’s student from each annual graduating class. The selected candidates are extended the opportunity to deliver the student honor’s address at their respective graduation ceremony.

  • Graduate (bachelor's and master's level) with a 3.70 GPA
  • Graduate of the current graduating class (August 1, 2022 - June 1, 2023) who has submitted the graduation application
  • Well-spoken and able to capture the celebration of this capstone event within the time allowed (three minutes)

Nominations may be made by faculty, staff, students, alumni, and those familiar with the nominee’s work.

Submit the Student Speaker Award application form along with the following:

  • Biography (maximum 150 words)
  • Professional resume
  • Letter of recommendation from a faculty member or supervisor
  • Text of the speech you would like to deliver at Commencement if you are selected
  • Video on YouTube or Vimeo of your speech (maximum length of three minutes

All materials are to be submitted in one complete application. Late or incomplete submissions will not be considered.

  • The University Awards Committee reviews submissions
  • Up to three finalists for each ceremony will be selected and may be contacted by the committee for follow-up questions
  • The committee will select the graduate and undergraduate student speakers
  • If selected, a final draft of your speech must be approved by the University Events team, who may provide edits for content and time
  • Award recipients will be honored during Commencement weekend, and should we have an in-person celebration, one night accommodations and individual travel expenses to attend Commencement will be paid for by the University
  • Award recipients receive a Student Speaker Stole to wear during the ceremony
  • Award recipients are required to attend Commencement to accept the award

Student Speaker Award Graduate Recipient

Eric Sneed

Graduate Recipient

Eric began his military and public service career after graduating high school in 2001 when he joined the United States Marine Corps. Eric served in the Marine Corps as an Air Traffic Control Specialist for five years, completing tours of duty to support Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. After leaving military service in 2006, Eric continued to serve his country as an Air Traffic Controller for the Department of the Army at Ft. Campbell in Kentucky for six years. In 2012, Eric joined the Federal Aviation Administration as an Air Traffic Control Specialist. Since joining the FAA, Eric has served in multiple roles to include Certified Professional Controller, Operations Supervisor, Air Traffic Safety Inspector, and Supervisory Air Traffic Control Specialist. Recently, Eric became the Air Traffic Organization's Top 5 Program Manager to help reduce risk within the National Airspace System. Eric earned his Bachelor of Applied Science and Technology with special emphasis in Air Traffic Control from Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, New Jersey, and his Master of Arts in Management, specializing in Organizational Leadership, from the American Military University in Charles Town, West Virginia.

Driven to improve the lives of military veterans, Eric founded the Never Alone Veterans Association, NAVA, to assist veterans in obtaining benefits earned through their military service. NAVA also provides meals and supplies to homeless veterans in the local community. Eric hopes to be a role model for his children and anyone he comes in contact with. Eric wants everyone to know that they can do whatever they put their mind to and that there are people in the world that are willing to help.


Student Speaker Award Undergraduate Recipient

Tyler Thomas

Undergraduate Recipient

Tyler Thomas graduated from American Military University with a bachelor's in American Military History with a grade point average of 3.74. His interest in American military history grew in December of 2015, while he was on a battle sight tour on the island of Tinian. It was there that Tyler learned significant events that took place in the culmination of World War II. After returning from his first deployment in 2016, Tyler enrolled in American Military University. Since then, Tyler has continued his studies through three different duty stations, a number of large training exercises both in the United States and Asia. During his senior year, he was forward deployed to Iraq, where he finished his last classes. When Tyler is not busy, he loves spending time with his wife and two little girls.  


The submission deadline is now closed. Please stay tuned in Fall 2022 for additional information and contact the University Awards Committee if you have questions.