7 best commencement speeches of 2015

Congratulations to the class of 2015! This year we experienced some wonderful, funny, and inspirational commencement speeches. Here are our favorites:


1. Stephen Colbert at Wake Forest University

Congratulations to you, the class of  2015. You did it and you look amazing. Although it’s a little embarrassing you all showed up in the same outfit. Really, even all of the accessories are the same,” he said in his introduction. “Everyone has a black and gold tassel — or is it blue and white? Grandparents, just know this was the issue that divided a generation. You had the Vietnam War, your grandchildren had an ambiguously colored Tumblr post.”


2. Katie Couric at the University of Wisconsin – Madison

A fulfilling professional life can be found at the intersection of what you love and what you’re good at. And when you think you’ve discovered it, go at it full-throttle…Finding the right work takes work and time. But don’t wait forever to find your bliss or you may find yourself 30 and living in your parents’ basement eating microwave popcorn and binge-watching re-runs of The O.C.


3. Maya Rudolph at Tulane University

If I could give my 21 year old self any advice it would be ‘take as many bikini photos as you can now, because your body is smokin’ hot. And it will not be this bangin’ after childbirth.’”

Look Under Your Seats!” Rudolph cried out, channeling Winfrey. “Because you are all leaving here today with a COLLEGE DIPLOMA!!! YOU GET A COLLEGE DIPLOMA! YOU GET A COLLEGE DIPLOMA!”


BONUS: Maya ended her speech with a comical rendition of the national anthem, in which she infused lyrics to Beyonce’s popular hits “Single Ladies” and “Drunk in Love.”


4. Tim Cook at George Washington University

Before I begin today, they asked me to make a standard announcement — you have heard this before — about silencing your phones. So, those of you with an iPhone, just place it in silent mode. If you don’t have an iPhone, please pass it to the center aisle. Apple has a world-class recycling program.”


5. Robert De Niro at New York University


Rejection might sting, but my feeling is that often, it has very little to do with you. When you’re auditioning or pitching, the director or producer or investor may have someone different in mind, that’s just how it is. That happened recently when I was auditioning for the role of Martin Luther King in Selma! Which was too bad because I could’ve played the hell out of that part — I felt it was written for me! But the director had something different in mind, and she was right. It seems the director is always right.”

BONUS: “You made it — and, you’re f—ed.”


6. Former President George W. Bush at Southern Methodist University

Those of you graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And as I like to tell the C-students, you, too, can be president.”

7. Meredith Vieira at Boston University

Be the left shark. Remember last Super Bowl, when the Patriots won? You may be thinking of Tom Brady’s deflated balls right now, but i’m thinking of Katy Perry’s half time performance. She was on stage dancing with two sharks. The shark on the right knew every dance move and performed perfectly. But it was the left shark, the one who went rogue and danced to his own crazy beat, who stole the show. So don’t ever be a conformist for convenience’s sake. Or as Mark Twain put it, ‘Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.’ Be the left shark.”



Leave a Reply