Graduation speeches have become outlets for hearing some of the most important life lessons ever. After listening to Randy Pausch's Carnegie Mellon University commencement speech, I was inspired to collect the best graduation speeches of all time, so all of you can enjoy the rich insights of the speakers.
I plunged into a good number of different graduation speeches from different times, and eventually picked these as the best 10. You’ll probably recognize most of the speakers, who are prominent people in their fields – people like Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres, Randy Pausch, JK Rowling, and so on. I think the schools couldn’t have picked better speakers than them, because the most important inspiration anyone can ever get is someone who his living by example.
I’ve picked these 10 speeches because they share important wisdom that are applicable to anyone in any time, beyond just graduating students. In this age of liberal bloviators masquerading as commencement speakers, it was nice for me to hear a few people with life lessons to pass on to graduates. Each of these speeches is everything a commencement addresses should be (and brief too).
The best 10 speeches are not ranked in any order. Videos and transcripts have been included where available. I’ve included my thoughts with each speech. My personal favorites are the ones by Steve Jobs and Randy Pausch. Enjoy – I surely did!
“Remembering you’re 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
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most importantly, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”