Graduates at universities and colleges around the United States are wrapping up the academic year, preparing to face a new era of life. As part of that tradition, celebrities, politicians, athletes, CEOs and artists are offering a range of life advice in commencement addresses.
Here are some of the best moments and words of wisdom from commencement speeches in 2019.
Robert F. Smith: ‘We’re going to put a little fuel in your bus’
Among the most notable commencement speeches of the graduation season so far was one by Robert F. Smith at Morehouse College. The billionaire investor promised the graduates that he’d pay off the entire class of 2019’s student loans — a pledge that drew looks of shock and several cheers from the crowd.
Smith’s announcement was met with surprised glee as students, faculty and other spectators cheered.
Oprah Winfrey: ‘Life is about decisions’
Oprah Winfrey at Colorado College on May 19
Kristen Bell: ‘Listen as fiercely as you want to be heard’
Kristen Bell at the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts on May 3
Ken Jeong: ‘Figure out what your act II is’
Ken Jeong at the University of North Carolina Greensboro on May 10
Stacey Abrams: ‘You need to know what you believe’
Stacey Abrams at American University School of Public Affairs on May 11
Glenn Close: ‘No one looks out onto the world through your eyes’
Glenn Close at The College of William & Mary on May 11
Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor: Education ‘is deeply important to our growth as people and as a community’
Sonia Sotomayor at Manhattan College on May 17
Tim Cook: ‘Don’t waste time on problems that have been solved’
Tim Cook at Tulane University on May 18
Bill Nye: ‘Turn your fear into excitement’
Bill Nye at Goucher College on May 24
John Krasinski: ‘Lean all the way in’
John Krasinski at Brown University on May 25
German Chancellor Angela Merkel: ‘Letting go of the old is part of a new beginning’
Angela Merkel at Harvard University on May 30