The Most Motivating Commencement Speeches of 2014

The Most Motivating Commencement Speeches of 2014

Graduation season has come to an end.  Over the past few weeks, accomplished individuals of all fields traveled to colleges and high school across the country to share their wisdom and life experiences with the graduating class of 2014.

Here are some of our favorite speeches this year:

 Charlie Day

Comedian and star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Charlie Day received his doctorate from Merrimack College.  He told the graduation class to take risks and bet on themselves. “You cannot let a fear of failure or a fear of comparison or a fear of judgment stop you from doing what’s going to make you great,” he said. “You cannot succeed without this risk of failure. You cannot have a voice without the risk of criticism and you cannot love without the risk of loss.”

 Bill Nye

The Science Guy!  Nye told graduates of University of Massachusettss-Lowell to “go out and change the world.”  He urged them to “…keep reaching. Keep Seeking. Keep using your abilities to bring out the best in those around you, and let them bring out the best in you.

 Sandra Bullock

Bullock gave the graduating class at Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans some practical advice, tell them “do not pick your nose in public.” Getting more serious, she said, ““for some reason people want to see you fail, but that is not your problem, that is their problem”. Bullock’s adopted son is from New Orleans and she donated to the school after it was damaged in Hurricane Katrina.

 John Legend

The singer returned to his alma mater, The University of Pennsylvania, to tell graduates to not be haters.  “We’re taught when we’re young that the opposite of love is hate, but it’s not,” he said. “Hate is a byproduct, hate is a result. Being a hater isn’t cool — nobody wants that. But hate comes from one thing: fear. Fear is the opposite of love.”

He also sang a few bars of his song “All of Me.”

 Jimmy Page

Led Zeppelin’s lead man, Jimmy Page, spoke at Berklee College of Music.   What a spirit there is here,” Page told the audience. “Music has so much power across so many avenues, to be in a position to do the thing you’re best at, which is making music, and bringing joy and pleasure to other people, it can’t be much better than that. I wish to pass that on to all of you. Congratulations with your degrees and lots of success in the future.”

 Jay Leno

Leno spoke at his alma mater, Emerson College, offering the graduating class some bits of his wisdom. “Never go on stage mad” and “Anybody can have a life; careers are hard to come by.”

 Sean “Diddy” Combs

Combs spoke at Howard University, telling an inspiring story of his humble beginnings, dropping out of college, losing his job, and working his way out of his hard times.  He even hashtagged his own speech halfway through.

 Jill Abramson

Recently ousted New York Times executive editor, Jill Abramson, told graduates at Wake Forest University to “Show waht you are made of” when confronted with adversity.


Bonus speech…FROM SPACE.

NASA Astronaut, Rick Mastracchio, addressed the University of Connecticut- From the space station.


Never stop learning. You'll pick up things where you least expect.