10 Graduation Speeches That Will Inspire And Move You

It’s never too late to get some higher education. Use these incredible speeches as motivation to find success in everything you do.

1. Stephen Colbert at Northwestern, 2011

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BEST QUOTE: “Thankfully dreams can change. If we’d all stuck with our first dream, the world would be overrun with cowboys and princesses. So whatever your dream is right now, if you don’t achieve it, you haven’t failed and you’re not some loser - but just as importantly - if you do get your dream, you’re not a winner.”

Watch the full speech here

2. Ellen DeGeneres at Tulane, 2009

Tulane Public Relations / Via Flickr: tulanesally

BEST QUOTE: “The most important thing in your life is to live your life with integrity and to not give in to peer pressure to try to be something that you’re not.”

Watch the full speech here

3. Steve Jobs at Stanford, 2005

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BEST QUOTE: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”

Watch the full speech here

4. Oprah Winfrey at Harvard, 2013

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BEST QUOTE: “Even though this is the college where Facebook was born, my hope is that you will try to go out and have more face to face conversations with people you disagree with. That you’ll have the courage to look them in the eye and hear their point of view and help make sure that the speed, and distance, and anonymity of our world doesn’t cause us to lose our ability to stand in someone else’s shoes and recognize all that we share as a people.”

Watch the full speech here

5. J.K. Rowling at Harvard, 2008

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Best Quote: “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously, that you might has well not have lived at all; in which case, you’ve failed by default.”

Watch the full speech here

6. Neil Gaiman at The University of the Arts, 2012

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BEST QUOTE: “The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows what the new rules are…so make up your own rules.”

Watch the full speech here

7. Lewis Black at UCSD, 2013

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BEST QUOTE: “You are now entering a world that’s filled to the brim with idiots. Since there are so many idiots out there, you actually may start to think you’re crazy. You are not. They are idiots.”

Watch the full speech here

8. David McCullough Jr. at Wellesley High School, 2012

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BEST QUOTE: “Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct. It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things. Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.”

Watch the full speech here

9. Jon Stewart at William & Mary, 2004

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BEST QUOTE: “College is something you complete, life is something you experience. Don’t worry about your grade, or the results, or success. Success is defined in myriad ways and you will find it and people will no longer be grading you. It will come from your own internal sense of decency.”

Watch the full speech here

10. Nick Selby at Georgia Tech, 2013

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BEST QUOTE: “Our mission as students is not to follow in the footsteps of the astronauts, nobel prize laureates, and president who graduated before us - but to exceed their footsteps and crush the shoulders of the giants upon who we stand.”

Even though this isn’t technically a graduation speech, we’re still going to count it because it’s awesome.

Watch the full speech here

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