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9 Commencement Speeches That Will Blow Your Mind!

Watch and read some of the most brilliant people take the stage to expand the brains and inspire the hearts of new graduates. You'll get more than quotable quotes, you'll feel like you got a brand new college degree yourself.
BY Skendha Singh |   28-05-2015

Thought commencement speeches were all high seriousness? Philosophic lullabies for fresh faced graduates? Think again. BrainGain Magazine brings you 9 amazing speeches by gifted adults, which will make life better, whether or not it’s your graduation day.

  1. David Foster Wallace, Kenyon College, 2005

    This is water.

    David Foster Wallace spoke eloquently to Kenyon’s graduating class of 2005 about the real meaning of learning. His insight soars to mystical heights. A truly unbeatable commencement address.

    To read, click here.

  2. Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005

    Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

    Apple’s late founder kept it simple and profound at his widely shared commencement address. He tells three stories from his life – connecting the dots, love and loss, and finally death. Themes which resonate across all that is human.

    To read, click here.

  3. Ellen de Generes, Tulane University, 2009

    You’re gonna be ok. Just dance.

    One of the world’s funniest women, Ellen makes particular note of the fact that she never graduated from any university. She shares how the lowest points in her life became foundations for self discovery and success. Watch for her wit and wisdom.

  4. Jerry Zucker, University of Wisconsin – Madison, 2003

    (J)udge yourself not by your accomplishments, but by the happiness of the people around you.

    Zucker gives five rules. On everything from not thinking about the future to dealing with failure. In between pops up the story of apple pies and John Travolta. Take inspiration from a life well lived.

  5. Conan O’Brien, Dartmouth College, 2011

    Work hard, be kind and amazing things will happen.

    TV show host, O’Brien turns the idea of graduation ceremonies as grand and celebratory on its head. He makes fun of Dartmouth, of college life, and America. But sage advice is intermixed with his jibes.  Lighten up, listen up.

    To read, click here.
  6. Neil Gaiman, The University of the Arts, 2012

    Leave the world more interesting for your being here. Make good art.

    A very simple and effective speech on the trials and triumphs of the creative life. Gaiman’s words resonate for all on the threshold of a new life, seeking to discover their purpose, and fulfill it.

    To read click here.
  7. J. K. Rowling, Harvard University, 2008

    We have the power to imagine better.

    Rowling talks about how the intangibles – imagination, empathy, and kindness can lead to tangible transformations for individuals and nations. Just like magic!

    To read click here.

  8. Joss Whedon, Wesleyan University, 2013

    To accept duality is to earn identity.

    Creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and A-list Hollywood director, Whedon, gives a freewheeling talk about the importance of contradictions in the society and inside oneself.This contradiction, which doesn’t spurn connections, is the very essence of a creative and compassionate life. And the ability to accept dissent is the key to freedom.

    To read click here.

  9. Jacqueline Novogratz, Gettysburg College, 2012

    So walk with a humility and a reverence for the human endeavor.

    Founder of Acumen Funds, Novogratz shares stories from her first interview to perhaps the bravest of her career decisions. She also gives five nuggets of wisdom. 



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