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45 Of The Best Commencement Speeches Rolled Into One

commencement speeches

Commencement speeches are an academic tradition nearly as old as academia itself.

Men and women who have made their mark on the world impart their advice to a class of bright-eyed graduating students. Speakers span a diverse range of backgrounds and professions. From politicians like Winston Churchill to the venerable Mother Theresa and celebrities like Kanye West, countless words of wisdoms have been shared across thousands of speeches.

In spite of the variety of commencement speakers… here’s something mind-blowing:

EVERY commencement speech in history repeats the same 14 motifs.

We’ve gathered examples of speeches from each category and included meaningful quotes from each of them. In addition, we’ve illustrated a short story inspired by each of these categories.

We hope this infographic adds some major inspiration to your week, enjoy!

commencement speech

In short:

  1. Listen to your inner voice
  2. Dare to dream
  3. Fight for equality
  4. YOLO
  5. Don’t give up
  6. Dare to fail
  7. Work hard
  8. Strike a balance
  9. Remember to unplug
  10. Learn from history
  11. Be kind
  12. Play
  13. Make art
  14. Change the world

Read next: What 33 Successful Entrepreneurs Learned From Failure [Slideshare]


Jon Tan

My coffee expenses and my office rental are one and the same.

Terrified of mathematics and carbohydrates.

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