Words to inspire from previous commencement addresses
CEDAR CREEK LAKE–The graduating class of 2020 will be having unique graduation ceremonies this year. Whether it is a virtual ceremony, a Senior parade or an in-person ceremony, services will be limited.
To quote Maya Angelou, “Now the joy begins. Now the work begins.The years of preparation, of tedious study and exciting learning at least begin to make sense.The jumble of words and the tangle of small and great thoughts begin to take order…”
Television personality Fred Rodgers gave a commencement speech at Dartmouth College in 2002 where he attended as a Freshman in 1940. “I have a lot of framed things in my office, which people have given to me through the years. And beside my chair is a French sentence from Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince. It reads, “L’essential est invisible pour les yeux.”
What is essential is invisible to the eye. Well, what is essential about you? And who are those who have helped you become the person you are?”
President Barack Obama, 44th President of the U.S., spoke during Barnard College’s Commencement in 2012, “Don’t just get involved. Fight for your seat at the table. Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table.”
President George W. Bush provided an, at times, humorous commencement speech during the 100th Spring Commencement Convocation at SMU in 2015, citing that the President of the University Gerald Turner, or his Landlord as he calls him, to see if he believed in free speech. Bush said that he did, and Turner said, “Perfect, here’s your chance to give one.”
When Bush addressed the graduates he said, “One of the great strengths of America is our active public square. Issues are influenced by the will of the people. That is why an educated citizenry is so important to the success of our country.
You live in a land that is compassionate and decent. Because we believe in the rights and dignity of our own citizenry, we are committed to defending the rights and dignity of people everywhere. America has liberated millions around the world from tyranny and terror. We’ve helped turn the tide against deadly disease in places like Africa. In our hearts we believe all are created equal under God. The liberty we prize is not America’s gift to the world it is Almighty God’s gift to humanity.”
Admiral William McRaven, retired United States Navy four-star admiral, addressed the University of Texas at Austin graduating class of 2014 during his commencement speech, “It matters not your gender, your ethnic or religious background, your orientation, or your social status. Our struggles in this world are similar and the lessons to overcome those struggles and to move forward--changing ourselves and the world around us--will apply equally to all.”
Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Inc., gave a commencement speech at Stanford University in 2005. Jobs said, “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.”
And finally, to quote President George W. Bush at SMU’s 100th Spring Commencement in 2015, “To those of you who are graduating… with high honors, awards and distinctions, I say, “well done.” And as I like to tell the “C” students: You too, can be President.”