Commencement Goes Hollywood!

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The trend to have celebrity commencement speakers, often Hollywood A-listers, is going strong. Roosevelt University was an early adopter when Oprah spoke at our graduation 16 years ago.

As we look back at last year’s commencement speakers, here are two memorable quotes:

I am a pop artist. So my medium is public opinion. And the world is my canvas,”                                                                                         –Kanye West

It’s time to say goodbye to the person we’ve become, who we’ve worked so hard to perfect, and to make some crucial decisions in becoming who we’re going to be. For me, I’ll have to figure out how to do an hour-long show every night. And you at some point will have to sleep. I am told the Adderall wears off eventually.                                                                                          –Stephen Colbert

As we consider the commencement speaker lineup for 2016, here are a few that look promising. . .

  • Jane Goodall at University of Redlands
  • Spike Lee at Johns Hopkins
  • Matt Damon at MIT
  • Seth Meyers at Northwestern

If you are a commencement speech aficionado, or in need of some career shaking inspiration, check out NPR’s Best Commencement Speech catalog http://apps.npr.org/commencement/  where you can listen to famous speeches by everyone from Chuck Norris to JFK (without ads!)

If you were to give a commencement speech to our graduates (MATD, MAOD) what words of wisdom would you share?

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3 comments

  • I often wonder how a school decides who will perform the commencement speech to students who have cried, had lack of sleep, worried and wondered about that paper or assignment that you submitted, scared for the future and excited about the benefits of their hard work. I think that one should be an example of how hard work and dedication has paid off to deliver a message of encouragement to the student body. Tyler Perry delivered a speech this 2016 and he said how much easier your journey is with formal education, he stated that we have been building a foundation that will hold you up for the rest of your life.I believe this statement will carry one a long way.This is a statement I will remember when times get rough, after graduation.

  • I find it intriguing to watch celebrity commencement videos, as I am curious to discover the words of wisdom being offered to the graduating classes. Graduates be reminded that when obstacles stand appearing to hinder your path, remember victory awaits you on the other side. Remember the times you have triumphed before and know that with persistence and expectation you will be victorious again.

  • It’s always fun to check out the celebrity commencement videos after the graduation season has ended. We always seem to find somethings that connects us to the bigger picture, but grounds us again.

    If I were to share something with the students, it would be to “find your place to settle, and take the time you need to do it.” Life has obstacles, just like college did. I’m sure you found a place to ground yourself again and regroup, or else you would not be present here. Now that college is over, you’ll need more of those places as life takes you in various directions. So before you hit the rough paths, because there will be bumps, know where you place to settle is. Mine saved me most days.

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