New York Times
May 22nd, 2015
With the traditional round of speeches come the usual sentiments: Thank your mother. Dream big. Go out and change the world.
Sometimes, it’s the quips rather than the soaring rhetoric that are most memorable. Kurt Vonnegut famously did not tell the Class of 1997 to “wear sunscreen” — that was the advice of the Chicago Tribune columnist Mary Schmich, fantasizing about the commencement address she would give if ever invited. Below are speeches that were actually given by the people credited; you
can watch the videos if you want proof. We’ll be collecting more as the
season goes on, and would love to hear from readers which ones you like
best, and why.
There are already some take-away aphorisms. From Ken Burns, the documentary filmmaker, to graduates of the Washington University in St. Louis: “Listen to jazz.” Samantha Power, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, told Barnard graduates,
“It’s your turn to climb on the bike.” Or, as the novelist Salman
Rushdie put it most bluntly to Emory University’s graduates: “Do not
make jackasses of yourselves.” MOTOKO RICH