If you’re looking for a way to get inspired for an upcoming speech or presentation, check out 10 of the best commencement speeches, included below.

Why am I sharing commencement speeches?

Commencement speeches are an opportunity to hear some of the brightest minds deliver inspiration to the future leaders of our world. The buzzing atmosphere of a commencement is filled with a mixture of excitement, fear, hope, joy, nostalgia, and bittersweet goodbyes. This atmosphere seems to bring out the best in many speakers, and that is why commencement speeches are worth watching, even if your college days are long gone.

The wisdom shared during commencement speeches is available for everyone to take and use in their own lives. 

I hope these speeches inspire you, as they did me.

1. Arianna Huffington: Smith College, 2013

So find your place to stand — your place of wisdom and peace and strength. And from that place, lead the third women’s revolution. – Arianna Huffington


2. Ed Helms: University of Virginia, 2015

Never let others define you, define yourselves. – Ed Helms


3. Maya Rudolph: Tulane University, 2015

In improvisation there is one hard and fast rule, and that rule is known as “Yes And”. – Maya Rudolph


4. Tim Cook: Auburn University, 2010

For the most important decisions in your life, trust your intuition, and then work with everything you have to prove it right. – Tim Cook


5. Stephen Colbert: Wake Forest University, 2015

Get ready for my generation to tell you everything that can’t be done…we should know…we’re the ones who didn’t do them. – Stephen Colbert


6. Sheryl Sandberg: Barnard College, 2011

Don’t let your fears overwhelm your desire. Let the barriers you face—and there will be barriers—be external, not internal. – Sheryl Sandberg


7. Jeff Bezos: Princeton University, 2010

… one day you will understand that it is harder to be kind than to be clever. – Jeff Bezos


8. Jennifer Lee: University of New Hampshire, 2014

When you are free from self-doubt, you fail better. – Jennifer Lee


9. Michael Lewis: Princeton University of New Hampshire, 2012

Don’t be deceived by life’s outcomes. Life’s outcomes, while not entirely random, have a huge amount of luck baked into them. – Michael Lewis


10. Oprah Winfrey: Howard University, 2007

Your calling isn’t something that somebody can tell you about….You know it inside yourself. – Oprah Winfrey


What is your favorite commencement speech? Share it with us on Twitter! Tweet us at @Ethos3.

Additional Resources:

5 Incredibly Bad Speeches

The 4 Least Inspirational Movie Speeches Ever

7 Speeches That Will Make You Cry (A Lot)

How Not To Deliver a Historical Speech

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