Over the weekend I had the displeasure of attending a favorite niece’s graduation from high school, the usual experience we would only wish our enemies. Decided to compile a list of famous commencement speeches to see if anyone has ever been entertained at a graduation ceremony, so see those videos below.
Meanwhile I wish my dear niece all the good blessing of life so that she may live it fulfilled, productive, and prosperous. I will get over the latest invitation and horror of sitting through a litany of immature high school students and underachieving faculty attempting to impress their captive audience.
View my video choices below and cast your vote in the comments. Is your favorite the why-am-I-here Dolly Parton Commencement speech at the University of Tennessee? The hilarious Will Ferrell commencement speech at Harvard, or perhaps you prefer the Ali G commencement speech at the same school one year later in which he was arrested. The entirely droll Bono commencement speech at University of Pennsylvania? Or add your own to the list.
Lists compiled by others including Winston Churchill’s speech at the Harrow School. This one includes Steve Jobbs speech at Stanford University. This other one includes author Russell Baker at Connecticut College.
Nobody will be adding the Barack Obama commencement speech at Notre Dame to any list. We said famous, not infamous. Obama’s address was controversial and underperformed expectations. Although it was received wildly by the young crowd, the text reads much like the shallow speeches we hear in all high school graduations and it distracted from the occasion. The attempts at humor were weak, the message muddled, and the soaring rhetoric empty and caricatured in the circumstances.
Nobody will be adding the George Bush famous commencement speeches to the list either. Although he managed to avoid controversy to the benefit of the graduates, the speeches were just as dull as Obama’s.
So view the videos, add to the list, and cast your vote. Our readers await your judgment.
Will Farrell: Commencement Speech Video
Dolly Parton: Commencement Speech Video
Ali G: Commencement Speech Video