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Welcome to inspireYou – an electronic encyclopedia about commencement speeches and speakers.

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InspireYou
quotes / wisdoms / jokes / stories /

The purpose of education is not to help you lead more comfortable lives. It is to enable you to lead more useful and more meaningful lives. You must use the power of education to confront, understand, and alleviate suffering and conflict in our society. You know too much—and you’re too talented—to turn your backs on disease, poverty, ignorance and tyranny, whether in our communities in America or elsewhere in the world.

- Gary Locke's commencement speech at Washington State University in 2004.

Previous quotes
Did you know that...
  • On May 18, 2008, Dr. Randy Pausch made a surprise return appearance at Carnegie Mellon, giving a speech at the commencement ceremony, as well as attending the School of Computer Science's diploma ceremony, and on May 19 Pausch appeared on the Good Morning America show. His lecture, "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams", was nominated at the 2007 YouTube Video Awards.
  • Research indicates that the longest commencement speech ever was given at Harvard University in the early 19th century. It was six hours long, with half delivered in Latin; the other three hours in Greek. Afterwards, the students were given a test on it.
  • Sen. Barack Obama has made commencement remarks at Knox College (2005), University of Massachusetts at Boston (2006), Southern New Hampshire University (2007) and Wesleyan University (2008).
On this day in history — September 26
September 26
Featured article
The commencement ceremony affirms each student's search for knowledge. It often includes a graduation speech which seeks to put their recent hard (or not so hard) work into the context of their future. Many of us hear one or two commencement addresses as graduates or listen to a handful as spectators. Yet -- as we graduate from one year to another, one relationship to another, one experience to another -- we always are learning.

Though these myriad departures and arrivals of everyday existence are seldom met with ceremony, words traditionally reserved for momentous occasions may ring true and inspirational at any hour. That's why we created this unique archive of commencement addresses, selecting an eclectic menu of twenty nine extraordinary speeches from the thousands that we have reviewed since beginning work on this initiative in 1989.

Though some of these wonderful remarks were given decades ago, we believe they are as relevant and important, perhaps increasingly so, as the more current speeches. Thus we encourage you to read them all, recognizing and celebrating your own constant commencement into tomorrow, finding ways to place it firmly within the context of progress for all humankind.

- Tony Balis


INDEX OF OUTSTANDING SPEECHES FROM 1936 TO 2008

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