back to top

The 9 Most Inspiring Commencement Speeches Of 2017, 8 By Women, 1 By Pharrell

Words of wisdom to graduating college students by celebrities and political leaders that inspire us all and prove the future belongs to the female.

Posted on

9. Maria Bamford: University of Minnesota

City Pages / Via

When Maria Bamford used her time speaking to teach a lesson about money and then gave her $5000 earnings for her speech to a graduating theater student to help pay down her student loans.

8. Hillary Clinton: Wellesley College

David L. Ryan/Globe Staff / Via

"I believe with all my heart that the future of America, indeed the future of the world, depends on brave, thoughtful people like you insisting on truth and integrity right now every day. You didn't create these circumstances, but you have the power to change them."

5. Sheryl Sandberg: Virginia Tech

Virginia Tech / Via

“We don’t have a set amount of resilience – it’s a muscle that any of us can build. We build resilience in ourselves. We build it in the people we love. And we build it together, as a community."

4. Krishanti Vignarajah: Hood College

Hood College / Via

"Women have ascended from property and slavery to subordinate spouses and second-class citizens. Now we must make the leap from citizenship to leadership. We have won for ourselves, in principle and on paper, the right to speak, the right to vote, the right to shape the destiny of our bodies and our families. Now we must secure the right to shape the destiny of our communities and our country."

3. Helen Mirren: Tulane University

Getty Images / Via

“However, I have come to understand that feminism is not an abstract idea but it’s a necessity if we—and really by ‘we,’ I mean you guys—are to move us forward and not backward into ignorance and fearful jealousy. So now, I am a declared feminist and I would encourage you to be the same.“

2. Pharrell Williams: NYU

Getty Images / Via

"Imagine the possibilities when women are not held back. The world that you will live in that will be a lot better. This is the first generation that navigates with the security and confidence to treat women as equals."

1. Gloria Steinem: School of Visual Arts

Joseph Sinnott / Via

“We are in a time of, on one hand, great danger,” she said. “On the other hand, we are woke! I have never in my life seen so much organic, sustained, enthusiastic, inventive, creative and fan-f**king-tastic activism as I did doing the March on Washington.”

This post was created by a member of BuzzFeed Community, where anyone can post awesome lists and creations. Learn more or post your buzz!