Salutatorian is an academic title given in the United States and Philippines to the second-highest-ranked graduate of the entire graduating class of a specific discipline. Only the valedictorian is ranked higher. This honor is traditionally based on grade point average (GPA) and number of credits taken, but consideration may also be given to other factors such as co-curricular and extracurricular activities. The title comes from the salutatorian’s traditional role as the first speaker at a graduation ceremony, delivering the salutation (where the valedictorian, on the other hand, speaks last, delivering the valediction). In a high school setting, a salutatorian may also be asked to speak about the current graduating class or to deliver an invocation or benediction. In some instances, the salutatorian may even deliver an introduction for the valedictorian. The general themes of a salutatorian speech and valediction are usually of growth, outlook towards the future, and thankfulness.
Valedictorian is an academic title of success used in the United States, Canada, Central America, and the Philippines for the student who delivers the closing or farewell statement at a graduation ceremony (called a valediction). The chosen valedictorian is often the student with the highest ranking (highest Grade Point Average, or GPA for short) among their graduating class. The term is an Anglicised derivation of the Latin vale dicere (“to say farewell”), historically rooted in the valedictorian’s traditional role as the final speaker at the graduation ceremony before the students receive their diplomas. The valedictory address generally is considered a final farewell to classmates, before they disperse to pursue their individual paths after graduating.
In Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, India and the United Kingdom, the title valedictorian is not used frequently. In Australia, the title is sometimes awarded to a member of a graduating university class on the basis of contribution to the school rather than academic success. The highest-ranking student in a graduating class is often referred to as dux (Latin for “leader”), and may or may not give a speech. In France the term Major de promotion (“first in class”) is used, although the term is not related to any ceremonial role, as there are rarely graduation ceremonies in schools or universities.
The person who graduates high school with the second-highest GPA and thus gets to give a salutatorian’s address during the graduation ceremony.
The individual in a graduating class who delivers the farewell or valedictory address, usually the person who graduates with the highest grades.
The individual in a graduating class who graduates with the highest grades.