Our 7 Favorite Graduation Speeches

Get inspired.

Whether you’ve just graduated or not, we could all use a little inspiration. See a few of our favorite commencement addresses of all time, with words of wisdom on everything from facing adversity to pursuing your passion.

Sheryl Sandberg

UC Berkeley, 2016
In one of this year’s most talked-about (and most heartfelt) commencement addresses, Sheryl shares what she learned in the year since she lost her husband.


David Foster Wallace

Kenyon College, 2005
The author’s often-quoted speech, “This Is Water,” is a classic for a reason.


Bill Gates

Harvard University, 2007
The icon encouraged graduates to use their gifts, skills and passions to benefit the greater good.


Mindy Kaling

Harvard Law School, 2014
In her hilarious speech, the writer, producer and actor urges grads to recognize the power that comes with their degree and to use it well.


Aaron Sorkin

Syracuse University, 2012
We’d expect nothing less from the quick-witted screenwriter than this beautifully articulated speech on embracing failure.


John F. Kennedy

Yale University, 1962
In his commencement address, the former president challenged graduates to pursue honesty and authenticity, and to stay engaged in the world around them.
Listen to or read the full speech here.


Winston Churchill

Harrow School, 1941 He poignantly delivered the speech on standing strong in the face of adversity at the height of World War II. Read the full speech here.