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Ten Commencement Speakers You Wish You'd Had

Ten Commencement Speakers You Wish You'd Had

Liz Dwyer | GOOD Magazine

6. Anderson Cooper, Tulane University, 2010: Cooper hilariously reflected on his own lack of memory of his commencement address and poked fun at liberal arts majors: “I, too, was a liberal arts major, so like you, I have no actual skill.” But Cooper also told the seniors how much he admired them for taking the chance on coming back to school in New Orleans a year after Katrina. “Your choice helped this city rebuild.. re-new…re-start,” he said.

7. Will Ferrell, Harvard University, 2003: True to form, during his speech, Ferrell impersonated George W. Bush and read a “message” from the president. “Bush” hilariously thinks he’s speaking to the Class of 2002 and butters them up by saying, “Make no mistake, Harvard University is one of the finest in the land. And its graduates are that fine as well. You’re young men and women whose exuberance exude a confident confidence of a bygone era.”

8. Ursula K. Le Guin, Bryn Mawr College, 1986: Le Guin encouraged students to keep their connection to the language of what’s right instead of the male-dominated language of success taught in society:

Our schools and colleges, institutions of the patriarchy, generally teach us to listen to people in power, men or women speaking the father tongue; and so they teach us not to listen to the mother tongue, to what the powerless say, poor men, women, children: not to hear that as valid discourse.

I am trying to unlearn these lessons, along with other lessons I was taught by my society, particularly lessons concerning the minds, work, works, and being of women.

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