graduation speeches



Graduation Quotes

gradatuion-quotes It doesn't matter that your dream came true if you spent your whole life sleeping.

- JERRY ZUCKER

 

Who is Speaking Where? The 2014 List

graduation speechThis year's list of Spring graduation speakers has recently reached over 80 speakers. They come from from all walks of life: arts, entertainment, business, technology, sports, media, academia, and more (one cook and one Buddhist teacher come to mind here). If you know me, I am disappointed in politicians' graduation speeches so I have only a few of those.

Read the 2014 Commencement Speakers List.

 

How to Write a Graduation Speech

This May, I celebrate eight years since I started collecting inspirational commencement addresses and launched this website. In this article I summarize everything I learned and what it takes to write a strong speech. While lighthearted, the article contains some of the best well research advice there is, with everything you will need to know from content, structure, possible themes, and delivery tips to make your commencement speech a memorable one.

 

Graduation: Best Dance Clip of the Season

First, Ellen danced at Tulane. Now, it is the Badgers' turn. What a an unforgettable Jump Around moment! Shouldn't we all do this, at the top of every hour?!


 

Top Commencement Speeches 2013

Graduation season is in full swing, as they say. Until all the dust is settled, and we figure out which commencement addresses will dominate in 2014, enjoy last year's best of list. You will be assured to have plenty of inspirational words and memorable advice from the best graduation speeches of 2013.

graduation speeches 2013

 

The Most Popular Commencement Address

Soon after adding this transcript to the site it quickly went to the top and it is now the most popular speech on this site. Can you guess? I'll give you a hint, it's not Steve Job (he comes in close second). You might find it a surprise but it turns out, the man has good advice. Give it a try, watch or read the 6 rules of success.

 

Looking for Ideas?

This list is a good place to pick and choose the most fitting and inspirational themes. Do not forget to add personal stories or anectodes around them to make the message stick and be more powerful. Lastly, don't forget to apply them in real life. My favorite one is:

RULE # 5
Don't wait to be invited. Create opportunities and get in the game.

 

Giving a Graduation Speech?

Congratulations! While you prepare your speech, search for inspiration in our collection of the best commencement speeches. And don't be scared; there is great opportunity awaiting for you. 2013's top commencement speaker George Saunders and 2012's top two commencement speakers, Neil Gaiman and David McCullough Jr., all landed book deals following their outstanding commencement addresses. Good luck!

 

graduation speech zucker wiscons

 

Top Ten

View the list of top ten commencement speeches as featured in the USA TODAY's article by Mary Beth Marklein. Share them with your family, friends, and please send me your favorites.

 

Best Speeches: Arts

There is little surprise that writers do give some of the finest commencement speeches ever. What is surprising is that despite their talents, the number of writers asked to speak at commencement exercises seems so much smaller than say that of politicians. I am very happy with this small but growing collection of outstanding advice by authors and writers.

 

Advice and Lessons Learned

graduation advice

 

Best Speeches: Sports

A few lucky graduates get to hear speeches from coaches or talented athletes. Coaches seem to always have good advice to share with others. In this section we selected the best speeches we could find from the sports arena.

 

Sample Graduation Speeches

Meryl Streep, Academy Award Winning Acctress
Julianna Margulies, Academy Award Winning Acctress
Anthony Corvino, Undergraduate Student
Conan O'Brien, TV Show host
David Brooks, NYT columnist and author
Denzel Washington, Actor
Arianna Huffington, Author and syndicated columnist
Meredith Vieira, journalist and TV show host
Jonathan Youshaei, highschool graduate speaker
Ellen DeGeneres, comedian
Marissa Mayers, CEO at Yahoo Inc.

 

Funny Graduation Quotes

Sometimes, a funny quote is the most memorable and sure way to make an impression on the graduates. Use these funny and notable quotes on graduation cards or for your Facebook status.

 

Lost Commencement Speeches

graduation speechOne such speech, among countless other worth preserving, is the commencement speech by a favorite author of mine, Joan Didion, at University of California in 1975. Luckily, one of the simply most breathtaking advice from her speech was made available in a NYT article.

 

quote I'm not telling you to make the world better,

because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package.


I'm just telling you to live in it.

Not just to endure it,
not just to suffer it,
not just to pass through it,
but to live in it.

To look at it.

To try to get the picture.

To live recklessly.

To take chances.

To make your own work and take pride in it.

To seize the moment.

 

And if you ask me why you should bother to do that, I could tell you that the grave's a fine and private place, but


none I think do there embrace.

Nor do they sing there,

or write,

or argue,

or see the tidal bore on the Amazon,

or touch their children.

 

And that's what there is to do and

get it while you can and

good luck at it.


 

Read more Commencement Speeches by Authors

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From the Archive

graduation speeches archive imagination illustration The commencement speeches archive has now reached almost 150 speeches. Back when I started this site in 2006 I used to know every speech in depth. As the years went by and more platitude-free and advice-bounty commencement addresses surfaced it's becoming harder to remember all these speeches I curate here and easy to forget some the most wonderful nuggets of wisdom they have. In this section, I will highlight a past commencement speech that I found smart and funny and some of its most memorable quotes. As always, each speech is worth reading in its entirety so if you have five minutes click on the link and read the entire transcript from actor Alan Alda given back in, yes, 1980! You will not believe how much of this advice holds true even today. That is why these speeches deserve to be remembered, to be preserved and to be shared.

quote As I get older, the only thing that speeds up is time.

quote Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while or the light won't come in.

quote The soup of civilized life is a nourishing stew but it doesn't keep bubbling on its own. Put something back in the pot as you leave for the people in line behind you.

quote You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing, but what you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself.

 

Recently Added Speeches

John Legend, Singer and Songwriter
Jennifer Lee, Screenwriter and Director, "Frozen"
Mary Carillo, Sportscasters
Jim Carrey, Actor
Adm. McRaven, Naval Admiral
Shonda Rhimes, TV Producer and Writer
Sandra Bullock, Actress
Drew Houston , Dropbox CEO
Tracy Chevalier, Author
George Saunders, Author
Wade Davis, Anthropologist
Jimmy Iovine, Music Producer
Tim Minchin, Musician and Comedian
Jonathan Safran Foer, Novelist
Susan Sontag, Author, Professor, Filmmaker
Billy Collins, Poet
Lewis Black, Comedian
Ben Bernanke, Economist
James Carville, Political Commentator
Ed Helms, Actor and Comedian
Eric Idle, Comedian and Actor

 


quote There’s few things that get you over your own crap more than working hard.

- ADAM SAVAGE

 

motivational graduation quotes


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Contact: Cristina Negrut at gradwisdom@gmail.com