Best Graduation Speech Quotes
By Polina at University Language
Posted on Monday, January 11, 2010
Graduation speech quotes are famous for their culmination of wit, optimism and self-congratulatory sentimentality. As you gather for the last time as a student body, it’s the speeches that move you as they attempt a segue into the “real life” in which you will soon inexplicably find yourself.
And while it is unlikely that graduation speech quotes will teach you how to do well on an interview or find your first job after college, they are certainly nostalgic and edifying enough to be memorable.
For your reading pleasure, we’ve compiled some of our favorite graduation speech quotes. So enjoy! And our hats off to you, winter grads.
Winston Churchill, Harrow 1941
“Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
JFK, American University 1963
“What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children – not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.”
Russell Baker, Connecticut College 1993
“Listen once in a while. It’s amazing what you can hear. On a hot summer day in the country you can hear the corn growing, the crack of a tin roof buckling under the power of the sun…. Or sometimes when you’re talking up a storm so brilliant, so charming that you can hardly believe how wonderful you are, pause just a moment and listen to yourself. It’s good for the soul to hear yourself as others hear you, and next time maybe, just maybe, you will not talk so much, so loudly, so brilliantly, so charmingly, so utterly shamefully foolishly.”
Steve Jobs, Stanford 2005
“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… Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
Stephen Colbert, Knox College 2006
Now will saying “yes” get you in trouble at times? Will saying “yes” lead you to doing some foolish things? Yes it will. But don’t be afraid to be a fool. Remember, you cannot be both young and wise. Young people who pretend to be wise to the ways of the world are mostly just cynics. Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying “yes” begins things. Saying “yes” is how things grow. Saying “yes” leads to knowledge. “Yes” is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say “yes.”
Graduating? Share your own memorable speech quotes with us!