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In the Spirit of the Season

It’s graduation season and that means that every ceremony – high school, college, trade school, or reform school – has a commencement speaker.


I’ve listened to a few memorable commencement addresses over the years.  Former Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush added more than a little inspiration to the Tulane University graduation ceremony just months after Hurricane Katrina nearly washed away New Orleans.  And I’ve endured more than my fair share of clunkers – like the speaker at my own college graduation whose name, title, and sage advice have long been forgotten.

But my absolute favorite speaker was a journalist (don’t ask me his name because that memory has also faded; are you sensing a pattern here?) who addressed my brother-in-law’s college graduating class a little more than 20 years ago.  After the most inane speech by a valedictorian that I have ever heard, (the overriding message being that “things aren’t going to change that much for us graduates because we have all worked so hard to obtain our degree”) the journalist walked to the podium and said:

“I beg to differ with the comments offered by the previous speaker.  I think you will find that your life is going to change significantly in the near future.  From now on, Thanksgiving is a Thursday; Christmas is December 25th; and summer is the time of year when you go to work and it’s hot outside.”

Game.  Set.  Match.

I’m sure you’ve probably been to a graduation ceremony that featured a great speaker or a memorable zinger.  I hope you’ll share it by posting your favorite commencement comment right here.

3 Responses

  1. Joe,

    See I was right … this blog proves it. Deep down inside you are a teacher… That is where you have the energy and creativity… you must do that!

    All the best,

    Stan >

  2. One of my favorites was from my nephew’s High school graduation where the speaker quoted the book, Oh, the Places You Will Go, by Dr. Seuss (one of my favorites!). It is true and that book has now become one of the gifts I give to all graduates.

  3. So the graduation connection is the reason I saw that Dr Seuss’ Oh the Places You Will Go is on the best seller list. I had not put that together!

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