Top Ten Graduation Speech Quotes

Here are my top ten graduation speech quotes that where requested by USA weekend magazines can. I would love to know your feedback or be sure to comment if you have one that you want to add.

J.K. Rowling -Writer
So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realized, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

Steve Jobs-Stanford UniversityJune 14, 2005
“Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
Anna QuindlenMount Holyoke CollegeMay 23, 1999“But nothing important, or meaningful, or beautiful, or interesting, or great ever came out of imitations. The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”

Katie Couric -TV Journalist
Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Be fearless. Have the courage to take risks. Go where there are no guarantees. Get out of your comfort zone, even if it means being uncomfortable. The road less traveled is sometimes fraught with barricades, bumps, and uncharted terrain. But it is on that road where your character is truly tested…And have the courage to accept that you’re not perfect, nothing is, and no one is — and that’s OK

Oprah Winfrey -Talk show host
Your calling isn't something that somebody can tell you about. It's what you feel. It's a part of your life force. It is the thing that gives you juice. The thing that you are supposed to do. And nobody can tell you what that is. You know it inside yourself.... always take a stand for yourself. Your values, you are defined by what you stand for.

Paul Glaser -Actor and Director
It is said that only those that have experienced their own mortality through the loss of a loved one or a near death experience of their own can know that choice, because that is the greatest experience of our fear of helplessness; our mortality. I would venture to say that, while we may go to great lengths to deny it, we are quickly approaching a time when this fear, this extreme helplessness.. is showing itself in more and more ways as it bubbles, roils beneath a surface that we are ever determined to keep calm, controlled, and in place. Our fear is an anathema to us, and we go to great lengths to avoid it… to the detriment of our creativity, of our very act of being, and we sacrifice our ability to search, and in the accepting the security of the status-quo, to re -- search, to re--discover, to re -- attach to that body of knowledge of which we are all a part. To re-member, that which we all know and knew at the moment of our birth. We sacrifice our experience of ourselves to be created, and to be creative. And in the name of security we make choices away from our hearts, away from our real needs as individuals, and as a civilization

Ursula K. Le Guin Author
Mills College, 1983“Because you are human beings you are going to meet failure. You are going to meet disappointment, injustice, betrayal, and irreparable loss. You will find you’re weak where you thought yourself strong. You’ll work for possessions and then find they possess you. You will find yourself — as I know you already have — in dark places, alone, and afraid. What I hope for you, for all my sisters and daughters, brothers and sons, is that you will be able to live there, in the dark place. To live in the place that our rationalizing culture of success denies, calling it a place of exile, uninhabitable, foreign.” So what I hope for you is that you live there not as prisoners, ashamed of being women, consenting captives of a psychopathic social system, but as natives. That you will be at home there, keep house there, be your own mistress, with a room of your own. That you will do your work there, whatever you're good at, art or science or tech or running a company or sweeping under the beds, and when they tell you that it's second-class work because a woman is doing it, I hope you tell them to go to hell and while they're going to give you equal pay for equal time. I hope you live without the need to dominate, and without the need to be dominated. I hope you are never victims, but I hope you have no power over other people. And when you fail, and are defeated, and in pain, and in the dark, then I hope you will remember that darkness is your country, where you live, where no wars are fought and no wars are won, but where the future is. Our roots are in the dark; the earth is our country. Why did we look up for blessing - instead of around, and down? What hope we have lies there. Not in the sky full of orbiting spy-eyes and weaponry, but in the earth we have looked down upon. Not from above, but from below. Not in the light that blinds, but in the dark that nourished, where human beings grow human souls.

Salman Rushdie
Text of Commencement Address at Bard College, May 25th, 1996 by Salman Rushdie.
Members of the Class of 1996, we are here to celebrate with you one of the great days of your lives. We participate today in the rite of passage by which you are released from this life of preparation into that life for which you are now as prepared as anyone ever is. As you stand at the gate of the future, I should like to share with you a piece of information about the extraordinary institution you are leaving, which will explain the reason why it is such a particular pleasure for me to be with you today. In 1989, within weeks of the threat made against me by the mullahs of Iran, I was approached by the President of Bard, through my literary agent, and asked if I would consider accepting a place on the faculty of this college. More than a place; I was assured that I could find, here in Annandale, among the Bard community, many friends, and a safe haven in which I could live and work. Alas, I was not able, in those difficult days, to take up this courageous offer, but I have never forgotten that at a moment when red-alert signals were flashing all over the world, and all sorts of people and institutions were running scared, Bard College did the opposite - that it moved towards me, in intellectual solidarity and human concern, and made, not lofty speeches, but a concrete offer of help. I hope you will all feel proud that Bard, quietly, without fanfares, made such a principled gesture at such a time. I am certainly extremely proud to be a recipient of Bard's honorary degree, and to have been accorded the exceptional privilege of addressing you today….

It is men and women who have made the world, and they have made it in spite of their gods. The message of the myths is not the one the gods would have us learn - that we should behave ourselves and know our place - but its exact opposite. It is that we must be guided by our natures. Our worst natures can, it's true, be arrogant, venal, corrupt, or selfish; but in our best selves, we - that is, you - can and will be joyous, adventurous, cheeky, creative, inquisitive, demanding, competitive, loving, and defiant.

Do not bow your heads. Do not know your place. Defy the gods. You will be astonished how many of them turn out to have feet of clay. Be guided, if possible, by your better natures. Great good luck and many congratulations to you all.

Ray Bradbury Caltech
The Great Years Ahead
So, I've come a long way. I hope I have another 20 years to go. That gives you 20 years to get from here to Mars. That's the important thing. I've got to give you a few rules of hygiene here-very important for the next several days. You can do some of them tonight. First of all, from today on, none of you are ever going to have to watch local television news again, right? Don't look at it ever. Because it tells you how bad you are. It's full of rapes, murders, funerals, AIDS, all the good things, huh? So you're not to look at that.

Now, right after graduation today, make a list of the people who don't believe in you. And you have a few, don't you? I had plenty of people who told me not to do what I was going to do. You make a list this afternoon, of the people who don't believe in you, and you call them tonight, and tell them to go to hell!

And then you gather around you the people who do believe in you - your parents and a few friends, if you're lucky. We don't have many friends in this world; but the few that do believe in you - and then you move on into the future. I try to do that.

Anthony G. Collins -SUNY Jefferson Community College May 24, 2004
“The word ‘partner’ is often used when a child begins school. A kindergartener cannot make a move without finding his or her partner. The partner is the security blanket — the person who cushions insecurities and fears — the person who gives their hand when you fall. In summer swimming lessons at the beach, the lifeguard blows the whistle at regular intervals to do the buddy check — making sure everyone has a partner — someone to help in a time of need. Early on we recognize that others help to support and nurture us. We gain advantage by working together. Life is a vast network of partnerships in which all of us are givers and takers. Partnerships may well shape your career, your personal life, and ultimately define the mark you make in this world.”