Redefining the Classroom

Words of Wisdom

Commencement speeches often contain insightful snippets of life advice for graduates and for others embarking upon new beginnings. Here are a few samples to share:

“Love what you do. Get good at it. Competence is a rare commodity in this day and age. And let the chips fall where they may.”

~ From Jon Stewart’s May 2004 Commencement Address at the College of William & Mary (VA)

“We need help. Your help. You must help. Please help. Please provide help. Please be willing to help. Help… and you will make a huge impact in the life of the street, the town, the country and our planet. If only one out of four of each 100 of you choose to help on any given day, in any given cause—incredible things will happen in the world you live in.

Help publicly. Help privately. Help in your actions by recycling and conserving and protecting, but help also in your attitude. Help make sense where sense has gone missing. Help bring reason and respect to discourse and debate. Help science to solve and faith to soothe. Help law bring justice, until justice is commonplace. Help and you will abolish apathy—the void that is so quickly filled by ignorance and evil.”

~ From Tom Hank’s May 2005 Commencement Address at Vassar College (NY)

“We live in a world in which the simple, the generous, the enjoyable, the completely present, above all the simply yourself sometimes seem as out of reach as the moon. Do not be fooled. That is not because anyone has found a better way in the millennia since the Tao was written. It is because too often we are people shadowed by fear. The ultimate act of bravery does not take place on a battlefield. It takes place in your heart, when you have the courage to honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations and yes, your soul by listening to its clean clear voice of direction instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world.”

~ From Anna Quindlen’s May 2005 Commencement Address at Barnard College (NY) Interested in reading more commencement speeches? Head to