Top 8 Links: Commencement Speeches

This time of year always inspires me. So much comes alive. Trees and flowers are in full bloom. Days are longer and warmer. Students graduate and move on to the next stage in their lives. Going from the safety and security of the familiar into the unknown.

That space of time brings many commencement speeches from those who have succeeded to help guide these students into the future. Even though we may not be new graduates, all of us go through transitional periods, a season where we need comfort and assurance that things will be okay. Most of us want to know that we can make a positive difference in this world.

When I think about my graduations from high school, college and law school, strangely I don't remember much. The days were so hectic and such a whirlwind of activity. For college, I remember the dress that I wore and that it was miserably hot out. Also, I remember that my brain literally hurt from studying so much and vowing to myself to never take on graduate work.

However, at my swearing in as a Massachusetts attorney, I do remember something quite clearly. I think it was said by then Supreme Judicial Court Justice Margaret Marshall. She said that attorneys do not have the best reputation in society and that we each need to do something to change that negative perception. That has always stuck with me and I do my best to help improve the perception.

This roundup of commencement speech links is a mix of different types of speeches -- some recent and some from the past. While one speech hasn't happened yet, I've read news about Griffin Furlong, a high school senior that will be graduating on June 4th as his class valedictorian. He is homeless and his mother died of leukemia when he was only six years old. His motto is "never give up" and I'm sure that his speech will be quite inspiring. Here's a link to his speech.

One speech below mentions that the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime. Imagine if we could make a positive impact on just a few of those people? Over years, that is a huge difference. That impact keeps impacting others and spanning generations.

I hope these links will make you smile and think. Maybe inspire you too.

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Bono Delivers Penn's Commencement Address (YouTube)

Adm. McRaven Urges Graduates to Find Courage to Change the World (The University of Texas at Austin)

Commencement Address for the Preschool Class of 2014 (The New Yorker)

What We Learned From The Best Commencement Speeches Ever (NPR)

Oprah Winfrey Commencement Speech (Harvard Gazette)

Filipino Cornell grad to lawyers: 'Serve your people' (Rappler)

Sandra Bullock’s Inspiring 4 minute Surprise Commencement Speech (Live in the Grey)

Dear Graduates: Congratulations! Now, Get Out There And Don't Follow Your Dreams (AlterNet)

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Photo Credit: Graduation Cake by Naisbel Azarak of Naiscakes. Naisbel is my cousin-in-law and makes the most amazing cakes! The pictures don't appear to come up on the main website, but if you click on the individual dates, you can see her many masterpieces. Check out this princess castle cake and a pool table cake. Anything you can imagine, she can create it as a cake!

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Can-Can said…
Great post. Thanks for sharing. And congrats on being a lawyer who belies the stereotype.
Lisa Johnson said…
Can-Can - Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it. ; )

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