While “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” remains an annual staple, Snap! Raise is excited to share some of our most impactful and memorable graduation speech moments. Congratulations Graduates!
Six Timeless Graduation Speeches
Natalie Portman, Harvard University – 2015
“Just starting out one of your biggest strengths is, not knowing how things are supposed to be. You can compose freely because your mind isn’t cluttered with too many pieces. And you don’t take for granted the way things are.
The only way you know how to do things is your own way. You here will all go on to achieve great things. There is no doubt about that. Each time you set out to do something new, your inexperience can either lead you down a path where you will conform to someone else’s values or you can forge your own path, even if you don’t realize that’s what you’re doing.
If your reasons are your own, your path, even if it’s a strange and clumsy path, will be wholly yours, and you will control the rewards of what you do by making your internal life fulfilling.”
Lebron James, “Graduate Together” – 2020
“Class of 2020, I know the last thing you want to hear right now is stay home. That’s not my message to you. My message is stay close to home. Maybe not physically, but in every other way possible. Pursue every ambition, go as far as you possibly can dream, and be the first generation to embrace a new responsibility, a responsibility to rebuild your community. Class of 2020, the world has changed. You will determine how we rebuild, and I ask that you make your community your priority.”
Steve Jobs, Stanford University – 2005
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drowned out your own inner voice, and most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Michelle Obama, Tuskegee University – 2015
“And you don’t have to be President of the United States to start addressing things like poverty, and education, and lack of opportunity. Graduates, today — today, you can mentor a young person and make sure he or she takes the right path. Today, you can volunteer at an after-school program or food pantry. Today, you can help your younger cousin fill out her college financial aid form so that she could be sitting in those chairs one day. But just like all those folks who came before us, you’ve got to do something to lay the groundwork for future generations.”
Jim Carrey, Maharishi International University – 2014
“Your job is not to figure out how it’s going to happen for you, but to open the door in your head. And when the door opens in real life, just walk through it. And don’t worry if you miss your cue because there’s always doors opening. They keep opening. And when I say, “Life doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you.” I really don’t know if that’s true. I’m just making a conscious choice to perceive challenges as something beneficial so that I can deal with them in the most productive way. You’ll come up with your own style. That’s part of the fun.”
Tom Hanks, Wright State University – 2020
“There is something about you, all of you, in your upbringing and your background and your conscious memories and your ongoing mysteries, something that has driven you to complete your choice, your courses, and achieve your selected challenges and cross the Rubicon of your time there…you succeeded because of the aid and the love of others, bettering your lives without a doubt, but you have succeeded mostly because you and you alone chose to do so. You are the chosen ones.”
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