Most Inspiring Words From 17 of the Best Commencement Speeches Ever

College graduations are underway across the country. These grads had to deal with the global pandemic, adding significant drama to the common challenge of studying, picking a major, joining frats and sororities, going abroad, doing internships, and developing skills to pursue their career.

The lineup for the 2023 commencement speakers includes a prestigious list of Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize winners, politicians, activists, academics, authors, actors, musicians, motivational speakers, and business leaders.

5 of the Best Commencement Speeches Ever

1. Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche – Wellesley College, 2015 “All over the world, girls are raised to make themselves likable, to twist themselves into shapes that suit other people.”

2. Chadwick Boseman – Howard University, 2018 “I don’t know what your future is, but if you are willing to take the harder way, the more complicated one, the one with more failures at first than successes, the one that’s ultimately proven to have more victory, more glory, then you will not regret it. This is your time.”

3. Jim Carrey – Maharishi International University, 2014 “Because everything you gain in life will rot and fall apart, and all that will be left of you is what was in your heart. My choosing to free people from concern got me to the top of a mountain."

4. Will Ferrell – University of Southern California, 2017 “No matter how cliché it may sound, you will never truly be successful until you learn to give beyond yourself. Empathy and kindness are the true signs of emotional intelligence. And that’s what Viv [his wife] and I try to teach our boys.”

5. Steve Jobs  Stanford University, 2005 “I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.”

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