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May 19, 2017 by Speakers' Spotlight

Speak Of The Week: Five Excellent Convocation Speeches

In the wake of Donald Trump’s rather…non-traditional remarks during his convocation address to cadets graduating from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy on Wednesday, we’ve selected five commencement speeches that stand the test of time and will continue to inspire for years to come:

Barack Obama

School: Howard University

Class: 2016

Most inspiring quote: “So don’t try to shut folks out, don’t try to shut them down, no matter how much you might disagree with them. There’s been a trend around the country of trying to get colleges to disinvite speakers with a different point of view, or disrupt a politician’s rally. Don’t do that—no matter how ridiculous or offensive you might find the things that come out of their mouths. Because as my grandmother used to tell me, every time a fool speaks, they are just advertising their own ignorance. Let them talk. If you don’t, you just make them a victim, and then they can avoid accountability.”

Oprah Winfrey

School: Harvard University

Class: 2013

Most inspiring quote: “It doesn’t matter how far you might rise. At some point you are bound to stumble because if you’re constantly doing what we do, raising the bar. If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher,  the law of averages — not to mention the Myth of Icarus — predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do I want you to know this, remember this: there is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

Steve Jobs

School: Stanford University

Class: 2005

Most inspiring 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.”

 

Drake

School: Tulane University

Class: 2009

Most inspiring quote: “It was so important for me to lose everything because I found what the most important thing is. The most important thing is to be true to yourself.”