Commencement Speeches: Best Advice for Recent Graduates

It is now the season for famous speakers to give advice to recent graduates. Apart from wearing graduation gowns, students will hear many inspirational commencement speakers. Some are alumni of the institution, others are respected for their accomplishments. What is the best advice for graduates and job seekers offered during the graduation season?

Bill Gates gave 14-pieces of advice on the most promising careers in a series of tweets posted last week. He wrote that if he was “starting out as a college grad and looking for a chance to make an impact”, he would consider these fields: AI (artificial intelligence), energy or biosciences. He would start in these areas because “these fields are where you can make a huge impact”. This is especially true if you want to “spread the progress to more people and places. It doesn’t mean you ignore the serious problems we face. It just means you believe they can be solved.”

Best commencement speeches:

The best speeches mention it all: don’t give up, fight for equality, change the world. They give grads tips on how to dream or embrace failure. According to NPR, these 354 addresses are considered among the best commencement of all times.

For example, the late Steve Jobs, co-founder and former CEO of Apple, spoke at Stanford University in 2005. During his often quoted speech, he advised recent graduates not to waste their limited time. “Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

2017: 

This season, here is a list of a few notable speakers and the best advice they can offer:

University of Albany welcomed NASA astronaut Capt. Scott Kelly, who has just recently returned from space after 340 days. Kelly, who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering and Master of Science in Aviation Systems, spoke about environment and urged the graduates to better take care of the planet.

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer, gave a speech at Virginia Tech on May 12 and encouraged graduates to build “collective resilience” as a community. “We are not born with a certain amount of resilience. It is a muscle, and that means we can build it”, she said.

For those interested in hearing more about new technology ideas, MIT will welcome Tim Cook, Chief Executive Officer of Apple. Also, Lisa Su, President and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices will address the PhD and ScD candidates in early June.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder of and CEO of Facebook, will be the speaker at the Harvard University on May 25, 2017.

Hillary Clinton, former Secretary of State, will return to her alma mater Wellesley College to deliver her 2017 commencement address on May 26.

Among other notable speakers this season is His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He will deliver his speech on June 17, 2017 at the UC San Diego All Campus Commencement.

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