10 Best Quotes From Graduation Ceremony Speeches

Each spring, students that have spent years slaving over homework assignments and rigorous exams eagerly wait for the moment that they will receive their degrees. The joy of this accomplishment fills graduation ceremonies with tons of excitement; however many will agree that the true magic happens before students walk across the stage.

Graduation ceremony speeches are often filled with sustainable words of wisdom; the messages shared in these brief moments of time often bring guidance to us throughout our lives. Some of the quotes below, from graduation speeches given by popular public figures, were especially memorable. 

"There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction. Now, when you're down there in the hole, it looks like failure...Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost, but then here's the key: learn from every mistake because every experience, encounter and particularly your mistakes are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are. And then figure out what is the next right move. And the key to life is to develop an internal moral, emotional GPS that can tell you which way to go."-Oprah Winfrey, Harvard University Commencement 2013

"Death is very likely the single best invention of life. It's life's change agent; it clears out the old to make way for the new -- your time is limited so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition." -Steve Jobs, Stanford University Commencement 2005

"Try never to be the smartest person in the room. And if you are, I suggest you invite smarter people or find a different room. In professional circles, it's called networking. In organizations, it'scalled team building. And in life, it's called family, friends, and community. We are all gifts to each other, and my own growth as a leader has shown me again and again that the most rewarding experiences come from my relationships." -Michael Dell, University of Texas Commencement 2003

"You should also know that there are external forces out there that are holding you back from really owning your success...I've experienced this firsthand.  When I first joined Facebook, there was a well-read blog out in the Valley that devoted some incredibly serious pixels to trashing me... In the end, my best and only response was just to do my job and do it well.  When Facebook's performance improved, the trash talk went away." -Sheryl Sandberg, Barnard College Commencement 2011

"You're not going to get very far in life based on what you already know. You're going to advance in life by what you're going to learn after you leave here." -Charlie Munger, University of California Law School Commencement 2007

"The definition of success changes. Success is to live your life with integrity and not give in to peer pressure to be something you're not. Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else's path; unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path, then by all means, you should follow that." -Ellen DeGeneres, Tulane University Commencement 2009

"Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate. The world doesn't need any more gray. On the other hand, we can't get enough color. Mediocrity is nobody's goal and perfection shouldn't be either. We'll never be perfect. But remember these three P's: Passion + Persistence = Possibility." -Jon Bon Jovi, Monmouth University Commencement 2001

"I hope if you learn anything from me today, you learn and remember -- The Power of the Pause. Pausing allows you to take a beat—to take a breath in your life. As everybody else is rushing around like a lunatic out there, I dare you to do the opposite. Remember to pause and reflect." - Maria Shriver: USC Annenberg School of Communication, 2012

"Be compassionate to everyone. Don't just search for whatever it is that annoys and frightens you -- see beyond those things to the basic human being. Especially see the child in the man or woman. Even if they are destroying you, allow a moment to see how lost in their own delusion and suffering they are." -Alice Walker, Naropa University Commencement 2007

"You're going to have naysayers, and I'll tell you, you will throughout your life have people who will tell you you're not good enough. Maybe they're jealous. Maybe they think you aren't. Maybe they've had a bad day. But ultimately you have to believe in yourself." -Meredith Vieira, Tufts University Commencement 2008

What's your favorite graduation speech quote? Let us know in the comments section below!

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