Words of Wisdom for This Year’s Graduates

McGill mosaicFrom PBS Newshour: May 22

JUDY WOODRUFF: Finally tonight: It’s commencement season, and that means graduates, their families and friends are hearing a lot of speeches. Many universities book high-profile alumni or big names to mark the occasion. Here are a few funny moments from some of 2015’s graduations.

MAYA RUDOLPH, Comedian: Well, well, well. Here we are. Look at all these beautiful faces and iPhones.

(LAUGHTER)

TIM COOK, CEO, Apple: Before I begin today, they asked me to make a standard announcement – you have heard this before – about silencing your phones.

(LAUGHTER)

TIM COOK: 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.

(LAUGHTER)

TIM COOK: Apple has a world-class recycling program.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHEN COLBERT, Comedian: It’s a pleasure to be addressing the Wake Forest graduating class of 2015. I want to start by thanking the administration and the trustees for inviting me to speak. I want to thank them for giving me an honorary doctorate of humanities. I’m a huge fan of humans.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHEN COLBERT: Of course, for you grads, the future is a dark chasm of yawning uncertainty.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHEN COLBERT: But don’t worry. You don’t have to face the future for, like, two hours.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHEN COLBERT: First brunch, then yawning uncertainty.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHEN COLBERT: In the late 19th century, this was among the first Southern schools to teach biology in a lab. Before then, you weren’t supposed to learn biology until marriage.

(LAUGHTER)

STEPHEN COLBERT: In 1962, Wake Forest had the proud distinction of being the South’s first major private school to integrate. And, yes, they have kept it up. All right.

(LAUGHTER)

KEN BURNS, Documentary Filmmaker: It had been my intention this morning to parcel out some good advice at the end of these remarks, the goodness of that being of course subjective in the extreme. But then I realized that this is the land of Mark Twain, and I came to the conclusion that any commentary today ought to be framed in the sublime shadow of this quote of his: “It’s not that the world is filled with fools. It’s just that lightning isn’t distributed right.”

(LAUGHTER)

GEORGE W. BUSH, Former President of the United States: 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.

(CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

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One response to “Words of Wisdom for This Year’s Graduates

  1. Robert De Niro spoke to graduates of the New York University Tisch School of the Arts last Friday at Madison Square Garden. Here’s how he began: “Tisch graduates, you made it. And you’re f–cked.” He went on to talk about the realities of life for performing artists, writers and directors, sharing his experiences and giving the grads some very sound advice.