It’s graduation season! And, that means it’s also time for those oh-so-riveting commencement speeches. To be completely honest, most commencement speeches are dull and sitting through them is nothing short of painful. For example, I don’t even remember the speaker at my own commencement ceremony. I remember it was a man and I remember he passed as somewhat “notable.” I also remember almost falling asleep during his speech. (My apologies if you’re reading this, sir.) However, if you’re lucky enough to get a speaker like one of the following, you’re in for a treat. These outstanding celebrities, politicos and other famed figures shared wisdom, wit and hilarious anecdotes. Who could be more qualified to dish out life advice to those embarking upon the journey than those who have truly “made it” – the movers and shakers, the successful few, the elite? Perhaps their entire speeches weren't gripping from start to finish but, thankfully, you won’t have to sit through them – we've rounded up the most poignant takeaway quotes so you can gather up words of wisdom without wasting any additional precious moments of your time. Check out the following top takeaway quotes or, rather, words of wisdom within 2015 commencement speeches given by famous folks:
"So if I must give any of you advice it would be Say Yes. Say Yes, And… and create your own destiny.
So hold on to your old friends. Kiss your Mama. Admit what your dreams are. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know what you’re gonna do tomorrow.
Comedienne and actress Maya Rudolph’s 2015 commencement address to graduates at Tulane University was both insightful and hilarious as she offered up real life advice and, of course, plenty of laughs.
Rudolph channeled both Oprah Winfrey (“Look Under Your Seats! Because you are all leaving here today with a COLLEGE DIPLOMA!!! YOU GET A COLLEGE DIPLOMA! YOU GET A COLLEGE DIPLOMA!” and Beyoncé (concluding her speech with a not-so-Beyoncé-esque sounding version of the National anthem) during her address, leaving the crowd in stitches.
What more would you expect from the unpredictable Ms. Rudolph?
“Someone will always have an opinion about you. Whatever you do won’t ever be enough.
Snapchat CEO, Evan Spiegel, during his 2015 commencement address to the University of Southern California Marshall.
Spiegel certainly touched upon his own life experiences in his commencement address.
During his speech, Spiegel described the irony of the situation: just three years prior he was seated at his own graduation ceremony at Stanford – except he wasn’t actually graduating. He walked as a façade to fit in. He refused to sell his business because he loved it.
Now, he’s a CEO giving commencement speeches and advice to undergraduates.
Spiegel finished up with candid advice, which anyone can apply to life.
“In times of despair, you may believe the cynic who tells you that one person cannot make a difference – and there are times it may be hard to see your own impact.
“So I hope you find the courage to decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. And then, please expect as much of the world around you.
The famed comedian, TV host, actor and author didn’t disappoint while sharing both comical and serious sentiments during his 2015 commencement address to Wake Forest University.
“No matter our race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation, we are all equal shareholders in the American Dream.
Madeline Albright during her address to students at Tufts University during the 2015 commencement ceremony, where she received an honorary doctor of laws degree.
“Just think what else is out there, what other physical or biological phenomenon is just waiting to be discovered, or invented, or thought of.
Famed scientist, Bill Nye, took the opportunity to address climate change and global warming issues during his 2015 Rutgers University commencement speech address.
He also took the time to offer up some general-but-useful life advice to the graduates.
"Life's not fair. It never was, isn't now and won't ever be.
McConaughey gives real life advice while addressing the graduating class at the University of Houston’s 2015 commencement address.
Apparently, the tough-love approach was well-received - the actor received a standing ovation from the speech.
"I'm asking each of you, at some point, to act up — be misbehaved.
Actor, Mark Ruffalo, during an acceptance speech at Dickenson College’s 2015 commencement address.
Ruffalo received two awards at the commencement ceremony, the Sam Rose '58 and Julie Waters Prize for Global Environmental Activism.
Ruffalo’s speech focused around challenging the new graduates to dedicate their work toward environmental activism and global change.
“Keep asking questions. Keep demanding change.
Katie Couric’s advice to the class of 2015 in her 2015 commencement address to graduates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
During her speech, Couric also touched upon the value of technology, particularly social media.
“There’s no substitute for a real conversation with a real friend that requires real empathy. There’s no replicating a chance to take a walk with a grandparent who’s not always going to be there. There’s nothing like being in the moment, even when that moment isn’t captured or shared.
It sounds like Couric and Rudolph agree on that fact! (Rudolph reminded graduates to put their phones away once in a while.)
"You must always ask yourself if you’re standing up for what you know is right, if you’re spending time with the people close to you, if you’re treating others with kindness and compassion.
Actor Forest Whitaker, shared wise words in his 2015 commencement address to California State University, Dominguez Hills.
The actor’s commencement address with both sincere and inspirational as he urged the Class of 2015 to focus on a life of love and kindness, filled with meaningful actions.
To paraphrase, Whitaker acknowledged that graduates may be confused on where their current path is leading, but, more importantly, they should question the type of life they want to lead. Sound advice, if you ask us!
14. Mitt Romney,
1. President Barack Obama
“We live in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge and innovation like never before. So as a country, we can’t afford to let any striving American be priced out of the education they need to get ahead.President Barack Obama gave the 2015 commencement address at Lake Area Technical Institute, a small two-year community college in South Dakota. According to the President, he asked to give the commencement address at the school because “there are few institutions that are more important to America’s economic future than community colleges” and of the school’s accomplishments. “It’s basically the Oscars for great community colleges. Only two community colleges in the country made the top 10 every year the prize has been awarded — and one of them is Lake Area Tech,” said President Obama. He went on to describe the school’s accomplishments, along with the accomplishments of individual students at the school. Additionally, he took the opportunity to talk about his education initiatives, particularly in making community colleges free for students.
For everybody willing to work for it, we need to make two years of community college as free and universal as high school is today. It’s the right thing to do.”