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More inspirational than Bill Cosby

Joss Whedon speaks at Wesleyan commencement
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on May 29, 2013 - 41 comments

Graduation

Dr. Harley A. Rotbart recounts his father's graduation from Auschwitz survivor to American equal. (SLNYtimes)
posted by roomthreeseventeen on May 22, 2013 - 5 comments

You Are Not Special

An English teacher delivers a better than average commencement address.
Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you... you’re nothing special.

posted by COD on Jun 8, 2012 - 190 comments

"Take risks, dare to fail, remember the first person through the wall always gets hurt."

"Don't ever forget that you're a citizen of this world, and there are things you can do to lift the human spirit, things that are easy, things that are free, things that you can do every day. Civility, respect, kindness, character. You're too good for schadenfreude, you're too good for gossip and snark, you're too good for intolerance—and since you're walking into the middle of a presidential election, it's worth mentioning that you're too good to think people who disagree with you are your enemy.... Don't ever forget that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world. It's the only thing that ever has."
On May 13th, Aaron Sorkin gave the commencement address to the graduating class at Syracuse University, a speech that has been mildly criticized for recycling some lines from his shows West Wing and Sports Night. Video. (Via.)
posted by zarq on May 19, 2012 - 50 comments

Career Implies I Had A Career Plan

Novelist Neil Gaiman tells the graduating 2012 class of the University Of The Arts everything he wishes he knew starting out and all the best advice he failed to follow. (Vimeo 19:55)
posted by The Whelk on May 18, 2012 - 20 comments

You get me

Congratulations Graduates! Here are some comedic commencement speeches to send you off into the world:

Stephen Colbert's advice for the Northwestern graduating class of 2011: Don't follow your stupid dreams. Jokes start right away, serious bits start 18 minutes in.

Amy Poehler addresses the facts of the 9/11 memories of recent graduates.

Comedian Dwight Slade speaks to his own high school graduate.

More? [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jun 20, 2011 - 19 comments

"Liking Is for Cowards, Go for What Hurts"

Jonathan Franzen's essay, excerpted from his commencement speech at Kenyon College says, among other things "To speak more generally, the ultimate goal of technology... is to replace a natural world that’s indifferent to our wishes ... with a world so responsive to our wishes as to be, effectively, a mere extension of the self." [more inside]
posted by dubold on May 30, 2011 - 71 comments

You've Worked Hard! Yay!

Ten Commencement Speakers You Wish You'd Had
posted by netbros on May 21, 2011 - 70 comments

"There are some people, who don’t wait."

On May 7th, Robert Krulwich (of WNYC's RadioLab and accompanying NPR blog Krulwich Wonders) gave the commencement speech to Berkeley Journalism School’s Class of 2011 on the future of journalism. (Via) [more inside]
posted by zarq on May 13, 2011 - 22 comments

Name-calling

"As Hannah Montana once said..." A Med School commencement speech about what it means to be called a Doctor. [more inside]
posted by Potomac Avenue on Jan 21, 2011 - 6 comments

Don't forget to follow your dreams, unless your dreams are stupid

"Good news -- this is the point in the graduation speech where I tell you a personal anecdote about perseverance and then quote a song." Lexington High School in suburban Boston is the alma mater of comic theorist Scott McCloud, evironmentalist Bill McKibben, a winner of Survivor, an SNL cast member, thinky writer Melanie Thernstrom, and MetaFilter favorite Amanda Palmer. But when it was time to choose a commencement speaker they wisely went with Eugene Mirman, LHS class of 1992. (SLLOLYT) (Eugene Mirman battles the pink robots, previously on MetaFilter.)
posted by escabeche on Aug 29, 2010 - 24 comments

Davis Souter's commencement speech at Harvard

Now-retired Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter got invited to deliver this year's commencement address at Harvard. He used the opportunity to expound on his legal philosophy and to give a not-too-subtle smack down to the originalists he so often argued with on the court. [more inside]
posted by AwkwardPause on Jun 5, 2010 - 37 comments

Wear Sunscreen.

Ann Curry dispenses graduation advice to the wrong student body. Close but no cigar.
posted by fixedgear on May 25, 2010 - 35 comments

Whackity schmackity doo, kids!

All of you have been given a harsh gift. It’s the same gift the graduating class of 1917, and 1938, and 1968 and now you guys got – the chance to enter adulthood when the world teeters on the rim of the sphincter of oblivion. You’re jumping into the deep end. You have no choice but to be exceptional. Patton Oswalt addresses the class of 2008 at his old high school. [more inside]
posted by jbickers on Jul 10, 2008 - 104 comments

Dana Gioia says, "I don't think that Americans were smarter then, but American culture was."

Fifty years ago, I suspect that along with Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, and Sandy Koufax, most Americans could have named, at the very least, Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Arthur Miller, Thornton Wilder, Georgia O'Keeffe, Leonard Bernstein, Leontyne Price, and Frank Lloyd Wright. Not to mention scientists and thinkers like Linus Pauling, Jonas Salk, Rachel Carson, Margaret Mead, and especially Dr. Alfred Kinsey.
The prepared text of the speech delivered by Dana Gioia at Stanford University Commencement on June 17, 2007.
posted by cgc373 on Jun 26, 2007 - 153 comments

School of hard Knox

Stephen Colbert's Knox College Commencement Speech. In a similar vein to Jon Stewart's William and Mary speech and Conan O'Brien's Harvard speech.
posted by cloeburner on Jun 5, 2006 - 55 comments

New Orleans Commencement Speech

"The water, it came to your school. The gasoline, chemicals, sewage and blood came to your doorstep. It settled into the ground of this courtyard where we now gather." Chris Rose's commencement speech at Ursuline Academy in New Orleans.
posted by ColdChef on May 15, 2006 - 13 comments

How's the water?

David Foster Wallace's commencement speech at Kenyon University
Please don't worry that I'm getting ready to lecture you about compassion or other-directedness or all the so-called virtues. This is not a matter of virtue. It's a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.
The author of Infinite Jest attempts to explain what is wrong with your brain's default settings.
posted by Edible Energy on Jun 29, 2005 - 26 comments

Worth Sharing II

Remarks by President Bush Long, but worth it.
posted by David Dark on Jun 3, 2004 - 139 comments

Doctor Bono's Call to Arms

Bono's commencement address to U.Penn. "The world is more malleable than you think and it's waiting for you to hammer it into shape.... That's what this degree of yours is, a blunt instrument. So go forth and build something with it." [via Ed]
posted by rory on Jun 2, 2004 - 46 comments

Will Ferrell's advice to students

Will Ferrell's Harvard commencement speech quotes from the greatest -- "I believe it was Shakespeare who said it best when he said, 'Look yonder into the darkness for knowledge onto which I say go onto that which thou possess into thy night for thee have come with only a single sword and vanquished thee into darkness.'" - Some Sunday humor for MeFolk.
posted by Civil_Disobedient on Jul 13, 2003 - 21 comments

We will strike first

We will strike first announced President Bush at the West Point graduation ceremony. I was camping this weekend, so I just saw this. I am surprised that it hasn't generated more commentary. The actual text of the speech can be found here.
posted by Irontom on Jun 3, 2002 - 124 comments

Commencement speech about civil liberties

Commencement speech about civil liberties drowned out by hecklers. When the publisher of the Sacremento Bee's speech moved to topics regarding racial profiling, liberty, and the war on terrorism's effect on each, the friends and family of the students started stomping and clapping and making a nuisance, so much so that she couldn't continue. The speech, in its entirety, will be posted soon. via Drudge
posted by taumeson on Dec 17, 2001 - 38 comments

Conan O'Brien's 2000 Harvard Commencement Speech

Conan O'Brien's 2000 Harvard Commencement Speech Conan wrote what is probably the funniest speech I have ever read, enjoy.
posted by fil! on May 31, 2001 - 9 comments

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