7 Amazing Graduation Commencement Speeches

Inspiring words at any stage of life

May 28, 2013

Image from Flickr user marcjohn.de

May - the month of college graduations – is a special moment that marks many young people’s passage into adulthood. Commencement speeches are the highlight of the graduation ceremony and serve as an inspirational lift off  motivating the new graduates to step into the real world. The following are seven of the most heartfelt, humorous and encouraging commencement speeches to date  given by incredibly inspiring people. From Steve Jobs and Oprah Winfrey to Bill Clinton and Sheryl Sandberg – these words of wisdom will exhilarate you. 

1.
STEVE JOBS
Co-Founder and CEO of Apple
2005 Stanford University
"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.” 

2.
J.K. ROWLING
Author
2008 Harvard University 
“It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all - in which case, you fail by default.” 

3.
DAVID FOSTER WALLACE
Author 
2005 Kenyon College
“Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal-arts cliché about "teaching you how to think" is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: "Learning how to think" really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. “ 

4.
ELLEN DEGENERES
Actress, Comedienne and TV Host
2009 Tulane University
“Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else's path unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that.”

5. 
FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON
Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and Author
2010 Yale University
“Nobody remembers the naysayers. In the end, all that endures are the builders, and in the end even the builders are forgotten and all that endures are the ripples of what they built, and that’s good — that’s a good thing.”

6.
OPRAH WINFREY
TV Host and Actress
2008 Stanford University
“So, I say to you, forget about the fast lane. If you really want to fly, just harness your power to your passion. Honor your calling. Everybody has one. Trust your heart and success will come to you.” 

7.
SHERYL SANDBERG
COO of Facebook and Founder of Lean In
2011 Barnard College
“…remember this:  You are awesome.  I’m not suggesting you be boastful. No one likes that in men or women.  But I am suggesting that believing in yourself is the first necessary step to coming even close to achieving your potential.”

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