Commencement Wisdom in 2015: Must-Read Links

You don’t have to be graduating to gain inspiration from the words of wisdom delivered by these ten commencement speakers,?who appeared at university campuses across the country this year – from investment expert Mellody Hobson to Hangover star Ed Helms to news anchor Jorge Ramos. Our roundup also includes noteworthy valedictorians with wise insights to share. Check out the links below to enjoy these memorable speeches in full.


1.??Salman Rushdie at Emory University, May 11, 2015

“On this day, a little nostalgia is appropriate. Because endings and new beginnings, no matter how exciting, also involve loss – the loss of the past. And it’s right, to take a moment, and grant the past its due. Okay, that moment’s over.”


2. ?Madeleine Albright at Tufts University, May 17, 2015

“You have gained a global perspective – and that’s true whether your degree is in economics or veterinary medicine, whether you studied the art of diplomacy or the science of engineering. This outward orientation is vital because the Class of 2015 will live truly global lives. You will compete in a global workplace, shop in a global marketplace, and travel further and more often than any prior generation. To succeed, you will require the kind of knowledge that extends way beyond mere facts to knowledge of self.”


3. ?Mellody Hobson at the University of Southern California, May 15, 2015

“You will all have significant challenges in your life. You will spin out, and you will struggle to right yourself. And you know the best way to confront those inevitable challenges and struggles? Just add bravery.”


4. ?Jorge Ramos at University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, May 15, 2015?

“This is very important. You have to challenge authority. Be a rebel. Your most important social responsibility is to prevent abuse by those who are in power. Question them. … How do you know if it’s the right question? It’s very simple. If, when you think of a question, it makes you tremble, and your hands start sweating, then you know that’s a question you have to ask.”


5. ?Ed Helms at the University of Virginia, May 15, 2015

“Pain, suffering and ignorance make no sense. But guess what, neither do beauty, compassion and love! They’re two halves of the same pomegranate. And whatever side you decide to chomp down on will define who you are.”


6. ?Katie Couric at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, May 16, 2015

“Where do you go from here? The world you’re entering bears little resemblance to the one I faced when I graduated. We’re in the midst of breathtaking, head-swiveling change … and technology is the engine that’s powering it. Disruption has become the operative word, and it’s completely upended the American workplace. It’s shifted where we work, when we work, how we work and what we want from work. … As the first generation of digital natives, I can’t think of any group better suited and better equipped to surf this unparalleled sea change than you.”


7. ?Marc Benioff at the University of California-Berkeley, May 16, 2015

“Companies can do much, much more than just build and sell products. They can be platforms for change. They can tap into much higher values. And they can improve the state of the world. … I also learned that it wasn’t just companies as platforms for change, it was every employee. It was myself. It was every teacher, every worker, every government leader …? All of us need to realize our role in improving the state of our world.”


8. ??Charlie Rose at Georgetown University, May 16, 2015

“Failure will happen to you. Make it your teacher and motivator. … One day is a well that you can drink so deeply in, and find so much, if you are just alert and available to it.”


9. ?Katelin Stanley, valedictorian of University of Portland, May 2, 2015

“Each of us is like a leaf … borne on an outstretched limb. To the world, we now bring productivity (leaves do photosynthesis, after all) and we bring life, and we bring beauty. We are what gives the tree its shape, color and energy. That is our role in the future … to be life, to make things happen, to reach for the sunlight, which is all that is good, and to never stop growing.”


10. ?Andrew Nguyen, valedictorian of St. Mary’s College, May 23, 2015

“Do not be afraid of difference. Difference is real. It is good. The idea is not to seek similarity, but rather harmony. We must meet difference with grace. Difference makes room for compassion, generosity and love.”


Image credits, left to right ( S.Bukley, Helga Esteb, J.Stone, Lev Radin


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