It doesn't matter that your dream came true if you spent your whole life sleeping.
The main advice this year was to push through one's fears: fear of what others will think of you, fear of failure, fear of not knowing what's next. On the other side of fear, there is love and finding out what you are meant to be. Read and learn from the best advice from last season's commencement addresses.
See the 2014 Best Commencement Addresses
to make your commencement speech a memorable one.
6 rules of success.
RULE # 5
Don't wait to be invited. Create opportunities and get in the game.
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!
▫ 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.
Lost Commencement SpeechesOne 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.
I'm not telling you to make the world better,
because I don't think that progress is necessarily part of the package.
Not just to endure it,
I'm just telling you to live in 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 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.
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.
As I get older, the only thing that speeds up is time.
Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while or the light won't come in.
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.
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
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▫ Mindy Kaling, Comedian and Author
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▫ Jennifer Lee, Screenwriter and Director, "Frozen"
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▫ Jim Carrey, Actor
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▫ 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
There’s few things that get you over your own crap more than working hard.
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