Top 10 Graduation Speeches of All Time

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Talented speakers have graced the stages of college graduations, reflecting back on their experiences to impart knowledge onto graduates. Here are ten of the top graduation speeches.

1. Steve Jobs — Stanford University, 2005

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The founder of Apple reminded graduates to keep faith and trust that life’s dots will connect down the road.

2. J.K. Rowling — Harvard University, 2008

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While you can choose to live cautiously, the author recognized that you’ll still fail by default, as failure is important to your growth.

3. Maya Angelou — Spelman College, 1992

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The author and poet encouraged graduates to carry those who have loved you with you to build confidence in yourself.

4. Jeff Bezos — Princeton University, 2010

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How will you use your gifts? The CEO and founder of Amazon explained that gifts are easy, and it is your choices that help you build a great life story.

5. Oprah Winfrey — Harvard University, 2013

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The talk show host focused on the importance of finding your inner light and building a resume of purpose.

6. John F. Kennedy — American University, 1963

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Realize the possibility of peace. The president encouraged graduates to seek out common interests we share as humans.

7. Sheryl Sandberg — Barnard College, 2011

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Aim high and challenge yourself. The COO of Facebook focused on the idea of finding work that stirs your passion.

8. Neil Gamain — University of the Arts, 2012

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The English author acknowledged the value of making mistakes; it means you are out in the world doing something.

9. Ellen DeGeneres — Tulane University, 2009

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The talk show host and comedian emphasized following your own path. If you know yourself, you will always be okay.

10. David Foster Wallace — Kenyon College, 2005

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The American author highlighted the importance of awareness, of yourself and others, to truly live a full life.

Sources:

David Foster Wallace. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2014, from Famous Authors

Maya Angelou. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2014, from Poetry Foundation

Neil Gaiman Biography. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2014, from Chicago Public Library

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