Salutatorian is an academic title given in Armenia, the Philippines and the United States 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 salutation and valediction are usually of growth, outlook towards the future, and thankfulness.
At the universities of Princeton and Harvard a Latin orator, usually a classics major, is chosen for his or her ability to write and deliver a speech to the audience in that language. At Princeton, this speaker is known as the "Latin salutatorian"; at Harvard the Latin oration, though not called a "salutatory" address as such, occurs first among the three student orations, and fulfills the traditional function of salutation. These traditions date from the earliest years of the universities, when all graduates were expected to have attained proficiency in the "Learned Languages," i.e., Latin and Greek.
Salutatorians are usually awarded silver medals, with valedictorians receiving the gold medal during the graduation ceremony.
Notable salutatorians in the U.S.
This section needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)
- Aravind Adiga, author, winner of the 2008 Man Booker Prize
- Jesse L. Brown distinguished US Naval Aviator and first African American Officer to be killed in the Korean War
- Norris Cole, basketball player
- Connie Francis, singer (Belleville High School, New Jersey, Class of 1955)
- James Garfield, the 20th President of the United States (Williams College, Massachusetts, Class of 1842)
- Georgie Anne Geyer, journalist and foreign affairs columnist (Calumet High School, Illinois, Class of 1952)
- John Legend, singer-songwriter
- Brent Liles, bassist for various punk bands Troy High School, Fullerton, California, Class of 1981.[failed verification]
- Evan Mecham, Governor of Arizona (Altamont High School, Utah, Class of 1942)
- Clare Murray, Student at Weston High School (Connecticut) 2014
- James "Murr" Murray Actor / Comedian / Impractical Jokers. (Monsignor Farrell High School, Staten Island, Class of 1994)
- Michelle Obama, former First Lady of the United States (Whitney Young High School, Illinois, Class of 1981) 
- Walter O'Malley, sports executive who owned the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers team in Major League Baseball from 1950 to 1979, University of Pennsylvania
- Bettie Page, pin-up model and Playboy Playmate (Hume-Fogg High School, Tennessee, Class of 1940)
- Robin Roberts, newscaster (Pass Christian High School, Mississippi, Class of 1979)
- Erich Segal, author and screenwriter (Harvard College, Massachusetts, Class of 1958)
- Richard Sherman, an NFL player for the Seattle Seahawks (Dominguez High School, Compton, California, Class of 2006)
- Carrie Underwood, singer-songwriter (Checotah High School, Oklahoma, Class of 2001)
- John Wayne, actor, Academy Award winner (Glendale High School, California, Class of 1924)
- Otto Warmbier, (Wyoming High School, Wyoming, Ohio, Class of 2013)
- Keith Whittington- William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University.
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- "Carrie Underwood - Pictures, Rumors Carrie Underwood from American Idol Updated". Archived from the original on 2009-04-12. Retrieved 2009-04-26.
- Sparling, Hannah (2017-06-19). "Otto Warmbier, imprisoned in North Korea, dies in U.S." The Cincinnati Enquirer at USA Today. Retrieved 2017-06-20. "There, in Wyoming, Ohio, Otto Warmbier was a standout soccer player and a 2013 salutatorian at Wyoming High School, his alma mater."