Not all commencement speakers make a great impression among the tired graduates they’re talking to, but some speakers’ life lessons will mean a lot to those not nodding off during the lengthy ceremony.
Michael Keaton left the podium at Kent State with the ultimate mic drop, closing his speech with two immortal words, “I’m Batman.”
Oprah Winfrey inspired the new graduates of the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. “If you could just capture the humanity of the people and the stories that you’re telling, you can get that much closer to your own humanity and you can confront your bias and you can build your credibility and hone your instincts and compound your compassion,” she said.
Winfrey and Keaton weren’t the only speakers to leave listeners on a high note. Yale University welcomed back alumna Hillary Clinton to address Yale seniors.
She chose to share some candid life lessons with the students in attendance.
It was a poignant moment for her to reflect on what she’s learned since her very public loss. It was also a chance for Clinton to show off her intact sense of humor.
Clinton spoke openly about coping with failure, telling the students she took long walks and drank wine to cope. Of course, she included a number of Yale-related references, which got the loudest cheers in the room.
She paused for a moment to voice her concerns about what’s happening to the democratic process.
But she took hope in the groundswell of activism, many movements of which have been led by young people like the students in the crowd. “I’m optimistic just how tough America has proven to be,” she said.