In May, Southwestern University will welcome Trent Harmon as the commencement speaker for the graduation ceremony celebrating the class of 2023. For the first time in Southwestern history, the graduating class selected the commencement speaker.

Trent Harmon holds the title of American Idol. The Season 15 victor originally hails from Monroe County, Mississippi, and immersed himself in music from an early age. Harmon started singing when his mother taught him “Amazing Grace” at age five. He grew up singing in church and went on to perform in musical theater in high school and college at the University of Arkansas at Monticello. He also learned to play piano, guitar, and drums along the way.

While working in his family’s restaurant, a friend convinced him to audition for The Voice. Though he didn’t make it through the audition process, Harmon was undeterred. In 2015, he auditioned for American Idol and wowed the judges with his soulful vocal delivery. Harmon went on to win the 15th season of Idol with his song “Falling,” which became his first single upon signing with Big Machine Records.

His debut single, “There’s A Girl,” reached Top 5 status and opened the door for Harmon and his band to tour the country. He recently celebrated his first cuts as a songwriter with simultaneous number ones.

Southwestern University’s commencement ceremony will be held on May 13, 2023, at 6 p.m. on Southwestern’s campus.