Cunningham Chosen as Commencement Speaker

Posted on May 21st, 2010 by

Senior Mary Cunningham

Gustavus Adolphus College senior Mary Cunningham has been chosen by a committee of faculty, staff, and students to speak at the College’s commencement ceremony Sunday, May 30. Cunningham will graduate with a degree in Communication Studies and History.

“Mary is an exemplary student, leader, and citizen, and she epitomizes the College’s liberal arts philosophy,” Communication Studies Instructor Kristofer Kracht said. “She has created a legacy at Gustavus in and out of the classroom that will be difficult to replicate.”

Cunningham, who is originally from Maplewood, Minn., was a four-year member of the Gustavus forensics team. During Cunningham’s four years at Gustavus, the team won three Minnesota College Forensics Association State Championships and four top 20 finishes at the American Forensic Association’s National Individual Events Tournament (AFA-NIET). Cunningham also represented the state of Minnesota at the 2008 and 2010 Interstate Oratorical Association National Contest – the oldest speaking competition in the country.

Individually, Cunningham won a total of six state championships, including four in 2010 (Oratory, Informative Speaking, Communication Analysis, and Parliamentary Debate). She also earned the Larry Schnoor Individual Sweepstakes Award for earning the most points at the tournament. At the 2010 AFA-NIET she was a semifinalist in Extemporaneous Speaking and a quarterfinalist in both Informative Speaking and communication Analysis. At the Pi Kappa Delta National Comprehensive Tournament, she placed second in Persuasion and third in both Impromptu Speaking and Informative Speaking.

Besides forensics, Cunningham served as a Gustavus Ambassador and was co-president of that organization in 2009. She was also active in the Crossroads program and served as Co-Chair for Cultural Peer Educators during the 2009-10 academic year. She has worked at Guslink and Campus Safety on-campus and served as a speech coach for high school students.


Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin


One Comment

  1. Alecia Woods says:

    CONGRATULATIONS MARY!!!! I’m sure you’ll be absolutely fantastic!