The Best Graduation Speeches of All Time
Graduation season! That time of year when we take our youngest and brightest and kick them out of the academic nest and into the real world. Before they go forth, flapping and squawking into the world, we usually send in one of our top leaders of business, politics or pop music to offer some words of inspiration and wisdom to guide their flight path – or at least entertain them while they flail.
by Adela Sescu
2 years, 3 months ago
1

Will Ferrell took the Class of 2003 on a wild verbal ride, touching on everything from the Berlin Wall to that guy voted most likely to eat nachos in his car – and even managed to fire an assistant in the process!

352nd Harvard Commencement Class Day speech June 4, 2003 Will Ferrell This is not the ...
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2

Will Ferrell took the Class of 2003 on a wild verbal ride, touching on everything from the Berlin Wall to that guy voted most likely to eat nachos in his car – and even managed to fire an assistant in the process!

Because this is where my faith in you guys comes into play, Harvard University's ...
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3

“I’m sorry, graduates. But this is a world where you aren't allowed to use your cell phone in airplanes, during live theater, at the movies, at funerals, or even during your own elective surgery. Apparently, the Berlin Wall went back up because we now live in Russia…

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4

Bill Gates shows just how level the playing field can be: After dropping out of Harvard, he went on to found Microsoft and become one of the wealthiest men in the world.

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5

“I’ve been waiting more than 30 years to say this: “Dad, I always told you I’d come back and get my degree. I want to thank Harvard for this honor. I'll be changing my job next year and it will be nice to finally have a college degree on my resume! …

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6

"You have more than we had."

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7

Bono has given several commencement speeches at different universities and never fails to delight, from talking about “wearing a mirror-ball suit” the last time he was in this particular arena to admitting to he once slept with an economics professor. Oh, he also has some good advice!

Lead singer of U2 Bono delivers The University of Pennsylvania 248th Commencement Address to the ...
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8

Winston Churchill, one of the most widely quoted men in the world, never ceases to inspire with his timeless prose. “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy. …

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9

Perhaps one of the most famous commencement speeches wasn’t a commencement speech at all, but a column by Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich, titled “Advice, Like Youth, Probably Just Wasted on the Young.” (aka, “The Wear Sunscreen Speech.”) It is often miscredited as having been given by author Kurt Vonnegut.

Inside every adult lurks a graduation speaker dying to get out, some world-weary pundit eager ...
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10

Steve Jobs went there, addressing death in a 2005 speech to Stanford, which was after his 2004 cancer diagnosis.

Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive ...
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11

Words of Wisdom: "Let us examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control.

You can view the full speech here: http://millercenter.org/scripps/archive/speeches/detail/3374 ...
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12

Comedian Stephen Colbert delivered the Commencement address at Knox College on Saturday, June 3, 2006. As is tradition, Colbert was awarded an honorary degree. Colbert hosts his own show on Comedy Central network, The Colbert Report, which spoofs pretentious, personality-driven political commentary programs.

Comedian Stephen Colbert delivered the Commencement address at Knox College on Saturday, June 3, 2006 ...
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12
Sections
1861
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1. Will Ferrell, Comedian, Harvard 2003 (Part 1)
2. Will Ferrell, Comedian, Harvard 2003 (Part 2)
3. Will Ferrell, Comedian, Harvard 2003 (Part 3)
4. Bill Gates, CEO, Microsoft, Harvard 2007 (Part 1)
5. Bill Gates, CEO, Microsoft, Harvard 2007 (Part 2)
6. Bill Gates, CEO, Microsoft, Harvard 2007 (Part 3)
7. Bono, Rock Star, U2 University of Pennsylvania (2004)
8. Winston Churchill, Former UK PM Harrow (1941)
9. Mary Schmich, Columnist, Chicago Tribune Chicago Tribune (1997)
10. Steva Jobs, CEO Apple, Stanford 2005
11. John F. Kennedy, President of US, American University
12. Stephen Colbert, Comedian, Knox 2006
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