A Commencement Mash-up




That time of year is almost upon us: Commencement. A time to honor impending graduates for having made it all the way through. An incredible feat at this school, as we all know. 

In the spirit of moving on and moving up, here are a few captions from some particularly humorous and inspiring commencement speeches. Consider it a commencement mash-up.

"Today, you have achieved something special -- something only 92 percent of Americans your age will ever know: a college diploma. That’s right, with your college diploma you now have a crushing advantage over eight percent of the work force. I’m talking about dropout losers like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg. Incidentally, speaking of Mr. Zuckerberg, only at Harvard would somebody have to invent a massive social network just to talk with someone in the next room."--Conan O'Brien

"
I'm here because of you. Because I can't think of a more tenacious, more courageous graduating class. I mean, look at you all, wearing your robes. Usually when you're wearing a robe at 10 in the morning, it means you've given up." -- Ellen DeGeneres


"...I want to thank you for bestowing upon me this Honorary Doctorate of Amphibious Letters. To tell you the truth, I never even knew there was such a thing as “Amphibious” Letters. After all those years on Sesame Street, you’d think I’d know my alphabet. It just goes to show that you can teach an old frog new tricks." -- Kermit the Frog


"I know that I am suppose to say something meaningful to you. Maybe some good advice for you to always remember. Now I usually try not to give advice. Information, yes, advice, no. But, what has worked for me may not work for you. 
Well, take for instance what has worked for me: Wigs, tight clothes, push up bras, high heel shoes...five inch high heel shoes..." -- Dolly Parton

"I cannot stress enough that the answer to a lot of your life's questions is often in someone else's face. Try putting your iPhones down every once in a while and look at people's faces." -- Amy Poehler

"Have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect, nothing is, and no one is - and that’s okay." -- Katie Couric


"Because it’s wonderful to have one life, to be on this world -- to have a chance to do the things that we want to do." -- Ray Bradbury

"
I found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks." -- Denzel Washington

"Just remember, you can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets." -- Arnold Schwarzenegger


And if you're more interested in an inspirational pick me up, read Paul Hawken's commencement speech to the class of 2009 at the University of Portland. The 
speech is considered to be one of the best commencement speeches made in the last 75 years:

"
So I have two questions for you all: First, can you feel your body? Stop for a moment. Feel your body. One septillion activities going on simultaneously, and your body does this so well you are free to ignore it, and wonder instead when this speech will end. You can feel it. It is called life. This is who you are. Second question: who is in charge of your body? Who is managing those molecules? Hopefully not a political party. Life is creating the conditions that are conducive to life inside you, just as in all of nature. Our innate nature is to create the conditions that are conducive to life. What I want you to imagine is that collectively humanity is evincing a deep innate wisdom in coming together to heal the wounds and insults of the past."