By Morgan Geyer, ’19

Griffin Trau, ’18, GC’18, was selected to represent graduating students as a student speaker at University of Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies (SPCS) Commencement Exercises held Saturday, May 11, 2019.

Trau began his undergraduate career at the University of Richmond as a walk-on student-athlete in football, becoming one of the most successful place-kickers in school and conference history. He is the second leading scorer to date, and his 81% career success rate on field goal attempts is a school and conference record, one of the highest in NCAA FCS history.

While at UR as an undergraduate student, Trau studied in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies and double majored in international studies with a concentration in world politics and diplomacy, graduating early with honors. Trau’s educational and athletic journey brought him to SPCS to earn his Master of Liberal Arts degree while still competing for the Spiders. As a graduate student, he wrote about American politics and society, Chinese nationalism and the formation of Czech national identity.

In his speech, Trau urged his peers to continue practicing the various aptitudes they learned in the liberal arts — to think critically, ask questions, and observe things from a multitude of perspectives. ”It is our responsibility to keep asking questions, to seek a better understanding of whatever lies before us — especially when we might not like what we find,” encouraged Trau.  

Trau concluded his speech by encouraging his fellow graduates to confront the issues in society which are most often evaded. “The effort comes not without expense,” said Trau, “but will be the difference in a brighter tomorrow.”

On his selection as student Commencement speaker, Trau shared, ”I’m honored and touched that my professors awarded me this opportunity. It is an amazing privilege to address such a diverse and accomplished group at commencement.”

This summer, Trau will move to the Czech Republic as a U.S. Fulbright Program participant. There, he will learn Czech, teach English, participate in the country’s budding lacrosse development and continue his research of national identity. 

At the conclusion of the Fulbright Program, Trau will join Deloitte Consulting in Washington, D.C., in August 2020.