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The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses

Graduation speeches made by leaders we admire include some of the most powerful and motivating sentiments. Celebrities, entrepreneurs, authors, and other important thinkers provide motivating, inspiring speeches that strengthen your soul. After four years of tough study, stress, and intense self-discovery, graduating students are treated to a life-changing speech to cap it all off.

#10 Oprah Winfrey, Harvard University, 2013

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
📷 Elise Amendola | AP

“Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

Oprah Winfrey ( click to tweet )

#9 US soccer player Abby Wambach, Barnard College, 2018

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
📷 Asiya Khaki | Barnard College

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“Joy. Success. Power. These are not pies where a bigger slice for her means a smaller slice for you. These are infinite. In any revolution, the way to make something true starts with believing it is. Let’s claim infinite joy, success, and power – together”

Abby Wambach ( click to tweet )

#8  Michelle Obama, YouTube’s Dear Class of 2020

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
📷 YouTube Originals

“Deep and loving connections with others, honest work that leads to lasting contributions to your community. The vibrancy that comes from a diversity of ideas and perspectives, the chance to leave this world a little better than you found it. Don’t deprive yourselves of all that. There is no substitute for it”

Michelle Obama ( click to tweet )

#7 Actor Robert De Niro, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, 2015

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
📷 Mary Altaffer | AP

“When it comes to the arts, passion should always trump common sense. You aren’t just following dreams, you’re reaching for your destiny”

Robert De Niro ( click to tweet )

#6 JK Rowling, Harvard University, 2008

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
📷 CNBC

“You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift”

JK Rowling ( click to tweet )

#5 Jeff Bezos, Princeton, 2010

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
📷 businessinsider

“I took the less safe path to follow my passion, and I’m proud of that choice”

Jeff Bezos ( click to tweet )

#4 Former US President Barack Obama, Howard University, 2016

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
📷 Al Drago | CQ Roll Call | AP

“Change requires more than just speaking out – it requires listening, as well. In particular, it requires listening to those with whom you disagree, and being prepared to compromise”

Barack Obama ( click to tweet )

#3 Actor Chadwick Boseman, Howard University, 2018

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
📷 Bill O’Leary | The Washington Post | Getty

“When I dared to challenge the system that would relegate us to victims and stereotypes with no clear historical backgrounds, no hopes or talents when I questioned that method of portrayal, a different path opened up for me, the path to my destiny”

Chadwick Boseman ( click to tweet )

Chadwick Boseman’s Howard University 2018 Commencement Speech

Chadwick Boseman's Howard University 2018 Commencement Speech
Howard University

#2 Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
📷 Jim Gensheimer | San Jose Mercury News |Getty Images

“Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Steve Jobs ( click to tweet )

Steve Jobs’ 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address
Stanford

#1 Actor Denzel Washington, University of Pennsylvania, 2011

The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
The All-Time Greatest University Commencement Addresses
📷 Gilbert Carrasquillo | Getty Images

“The world needs a lot – and we need it from you, the young people. So get out there. Give it everything you’ve got – whether it’s your time, your talent, your prayers, or your treasure. Because remember this: You’ll never see a U-haul behind a hearse.”

Denzel Washington ( click to tweet )

Denzel Washington – Speech at University of Pennsylvania

Denzel Washington - University of Pennsylvania
Vidbi

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