2013 - Best Graduation Speeches


The most memorable graduation speeches have to be entertaining and inspirational at the same time. It's quite a tall order but these graduation speeches have it all. Take the time to watch them and share them with your friends. Who would have thought that commencement speeches can be so much fun to listen to?!

1. Author George Saunders at Syracuse Univ.

Success is like a mountain that keeps growing ahead of you as you hike it.



" Do all the other things, the amitious things- travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes...-but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindess.

Commencement Address at Syracuse University 2013.
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2. Ed Helms at Knox College

So long as your desire to explore is greater than your desire to not screw up, you're on the right track. A life oriented toward discovery is infinitely more rewarding than a life oriented toward not blowing it.

" Don't be afraid of fear. Because it sharpens you, it challenges you, it makes you stronger; and when you run away from fear, you also run away from the opportunity to be your best possible self.

Commencement Address at Knox College 2013
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3. Dick Costolo at University of Michigan


Believe that if you make courageous choices and bet on yourself and put yourself out there, that you will have an impact, as a result of what you do. And you donít need to know now what that would be or how will it happen because no one ever does.


Commencement Address at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, 2013
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4. Joss Whedon at Wesleyan University


Don't just be yourself. Be all of yourself. Don't just live. Be that other thing connected to death. Be life. Live all of your life. Understand it, see it, appreciate it. And have fun.

On the contractiction between the body and the mind: "It never goes away. And if you think that achieving something, if you think that solving something, if you think a career or a relationship will quiet that voice, it will not. If you think that happiness means total peace, you will never be happy. Peace comes from the acceptance of the part of you that can never be at peace. It will always be in conflict. If you accept that, everything gets a lot better."

joss whedon
Commencement Address at Wesleyan University, 2013
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5. David Brooks at Sewanee The U. of the South

The daily activity that contributes most to happiness is having dinner with friends. The daily activity that detracts most from happiness is commuting. Eat more. Commute less.

On commencement addresses: "The school asks a person who has achieved a certain level of career success to give you a speech telling you that career success is not important."

Baccalaureate Address at Sewanee: The University of the South, 2013

See Also:
David Brooks Commencement Speech at Rice University 2011
David Brooks Graduation Speech at Wake Forest University 2007
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6. Sharyn Alfonsi at University of Mississippi

Throughout your career people will try to distract you. Some will scream at you, others will say things behind your back, and a few feral animals will literally try to throw their stiletto heel in in your lane and trip you. Keep your eyes straight ahead and just run your race.

" Your life will have chapters, complete with crazy characters, villains and a plot you canít even imagine as you sit here today. Itís a lot like a Scooby Doo episode. "

Commencement Address at The Meek School of Journalism and New Media at The University of Mississippi, 2013
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7. John Green at Butler University

There are many more jobs out there than you have ever heard of. Your dream job might not yet exist. If you had told College Me that I would become a professional YouTuber, I would’ve been like, “That is not a word, and it never should be.”

"Do not worry too much about your lawn. You will soon find if you haven’t already that almost every adult American devotes tremendous time and money to the maintenance of an invasive plant species called turf grass that we can’t eat. I encourage you to choose better obsessions. "

Commencement Address at Butler University 2013
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8. Wynton Marsalis at University of Vermont

It’s harder to build than destroy. To build is to engage and change. Changes are like obstacles on a speed
course. They demand your attention and require you to be present. They are coming...they are here..... and then they are gone. It's how life comes. Each moment is a procession from the future into the past and the sweet spot is always the present. Live in that sweet spot. Be present.


Commencement Address at University of Vermont, 2013
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9. Eric Idle at Whitman College

Life has a very simple plot: First you're here and then you're not.




Commencement Address at Whitman College, 2013
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10. Stephen Colbert at University of Virginia

You may learn sooner than most generations the hard lesson that you must always make the path for yourself...There is no secret society out there that will tap you on your shoulder one night and show you the way.



"I believe we have given you a gift, a particular form of independence... because you do not owe the previous generation anything. Thanks to us, you owe it to the Chinese.”

Valedictory Address at University of Virginia 2013

See also: Steven Colbert's 2011 Commencement Address at Northwestern University
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2012 Best Commencement Speeches

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