Developing the Program

The formal program should include a welcome, acknowledgement of VIPs, introductions, speeches, recognition of contributors, closing and groundbreaking/ribbon cutting (where applicable). Determine who will emcee the program and who will be invited to speak at the ceremony. All speakers will need to know in advance how long they are to speak and the order in which they will speak. The actual ceremony should be no longer than 30 minutes. Factor in any other activities involved in the program, such as a groundbreaking/ribbon cutting at the end of the ceremony. For Dedications/Grand Openings, a tour of the facilities usually occurs immediately after the conclusion of the formal program. Printed programs can be available to all guests, if desired.

  • Determine which university and community leaders should be invited to emcee and speak.
    • The appropriate dean/director/vice president will serve as emcee and preside at the ceremony.
    • The emcee will welcome guests, introduce any other speakers, and maintain the flow of the program. The emcee should also offer a few remarks, thank appropriate persons and recognize VIPs in attendance (including those on the platform and speakers).

Speakers should be contacted early in the planning process so they have enough time to prepare remarks. Inform each speaker how long they will have to speak. This is typically very brief (two to three minutes). Call to confirm their attendance at least one week prior to the event.