For many students June is an end and often a beginning, complete with ceremony and celebration, and this is a perfect time to look at some of the best commencement speeches. So much inspiration is packed into those minutes on stage.
Commencement speeches are often as relevant to me as to the graduates, since like everyone, I’m constantly growing and graduating from one stage of life to another.
Time Magazine publishes some of the best speeches of the year, so today let’s look at a few. Follow the link to find more on line.
Some of my favorites are Robert F. Smith who walked his talk in a big way by telling the Morehouse College graduating class:
“On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus … This is my class, 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans.”
Oprah Winfrey, as usual, brought the Colorado College class to its feet when she said:
“The most important thing is how you’re touching other people’s lives … The truth is, you cannot fix everything. But what you can do, here and now, is make a decision, because life is about decisions. And the decision is that you will use your life in service; you will be in service to life. You will speak up. You will show up. You will stand up. You will sit in. You will volunteer. You will vote. You will shout out. You will help. You will lend a hand.”
And Tara Westover, the author of the best-seller, Educated, was speaking about our avatars, the photos we usually share with the world when she told the Northeastern University class:
“They are beautiful, unblemished lives. But sometimes I think that when we deny what is worst about ourselves, we also deny what is best. We repress our ignorance, and thus we deny our capacity to learn. We repress our faults, and thus we deny our capacity to change. We forget that it is our flawed human self, and not our avatar, who creates things and reconsiders and forgives and shows mercy.”
I hope you were able to hear an excellent commencement speech in person this month. But if you want a real challenge, reflect on what you would say to the next generation if you had the opportunity.
Ready, set go!