topic
Advice for a New College Graduate

Introduced: May 23 2011

Because it's graduation time all around the U.S.: Based on your own experiences and observations, what is one bit of advice or wisdom about life you'd tell a college graduate?

 

There’s probably no time in life when people believe in you more than the day you graduate from college. “You can do Anything,” right? But how does that advice measure up to reality?

 

What do we know now that we didn’t know then?

 

Dialogue on Advice for a New College Graduate
007:

I just sent this link to my cousin who's two months away from graduation and starting to send out job applications. It has tips to correct common mistakes that women tend to make during negotiations. I'm a business owner and found it useful for myself, but I wish I had known all this 12 years ago when I graduated. Maybe I could have avoided some frustration. http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-things-women-should-never-say-when-negotiating?intlink=us-openf-nav-mostpopular

213:

An item I saw on CNN.com: A hospice chaplain was saying that among the people he visits who are sick and dying, they talk about their families – not about theology and theories. He said, “We live our lives in our families. This is where we find meaning, this is where our purpose becomes clear.”

048:

From several years ago, I saved this advice from a graduation speech by Dr. Carlos Cortez (creator of Dora the Explorer). (I had to search for my notes and I hope they are close enough to what he actually said. But whatever…I think they’re pretty good.) He outlined three needs for the betterment of our future: creativity, civility, and empathy. “Our future lies in our vigilant attempt to unleash creative minds to help us address our complex social issues, educate students to be civil when they disagree, capable of seriously discussing complex, even controversial issues, and prioritizing our cognitive and emotional understanding of others, whose values, perspectives and worldviews are vastly different from or conflict with our own."

267:

True happiness is being faithful to your true nature. The better you know yourself-what it is you love, what inspires you, what you are made of- the happier you will be. When you forget who you are, something very strange happens- you begin to search for happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I have had a wonderful life, but as I look back, I wish I would have taken more time with my children. I also wish I would have, "Taken time to smell the roses". Life becomes a whirlwind and we forget we are only here for a short time. Enjoy nature and all it has to offer.

068:

LIFE ADVICE... I read a lovely quote from a beach book by Kate Morton, HOUSE AT RIVERTON, about the joys of grandparenting "because all the guilt and responsibility is gone leaving the joy and the fun"...

 

I find myself at this point in life with very elderly parents and a 94 year old father-in-law moving towards the end of their lives I admire so much the courage I see from these pillars of our family. But I wonder what it is that makes some see the cup half full while others see it half empty....I always want to see my cup as running over, but what makes us keep that vision? Will I be worthy?

060:

Many… MANY… years ago, I read a little book named “Advice to a Young Wife from an Old Mistress,” a book written in the 1960s, -- and I remember thinking it held wise and relevant insights into trying to navigate through life as a marriage partner. I especially remember being glued to every word as the author described the relationship between money and love.

012:

To a recent graduate, I would say: Don’t let graduation be the end of your education. You’ll need in this world to be much smarter than you are today. You’ll need to decide what to embrace about “the new” and what to keep about “the old.” The world will move so fast, if you can’t grasp it, it will leave you behind. Keep learning.

148:

My best advice would be to stay focused, deal with things honestly and try to see both sides of an issue.

030:

When facing anything and everything that comes my way and planning what to do next, I try to remember-'Go as far as you can see - when you get there you can see further.'

 

Pretty much a fail-safe process that eliminates crystal balls and an ability to look around corners. 'Life-in-advance' calendars don't often stay on course anyway.

 

Note from IWD: The New York Times was only three weeks behind us in reporting key messages from commencement speakers.

 

They also conducted a study of which words were used most often in commencement speeches. The top four were “world,” “country,” “love,” “work/career,” and “service." Used far less often were “money,” “happiness,” and “success.”

IWD:

Note from IWD: There’s some good news about jobs for today’s graduates: According to a new report released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers are planning to hire 19.3 percent more new college graduates this year than last year -- the highest increase since 2007.

 

The report, released May 12, shows an even brighter outlook than the 13 percent increase in the number of college graduate hires it predicted last fall.

 

Starting salaries also are better. In February, the Bethlehem, Pa.-based organization reported that the average starting salary offers for college seniors were up about 3.5 percent from the same time last year -- a first since 2008.

 

But we all know, there’s more to life than a job!

068:

A few thoughts for a college graduate: Despite the rise in prominence of virtual technologies, real relationships with real people will provide the foundation for your happiness and success. No matter how many "friends“ you may have on Facebook, the friends who will come to your aid in a crisis are the ones that you want to nourish with personal time and attention. It's hard to draw lasting inspiration from bloggers, tweets, or casual postings to your Facebook page. Allow yourself to be inspired by real people who have real experience with the things you value.

105:

Look forward to something – wholeheartedly and continuously. Whether it happens the way you hope it will or not, looking forward to something is one of life’s best experiences.

069:

When the joke's on you lead the laughter! And for those setting off to college - 075: Keep your eye on the books, but have fun, too.

121:

Don’t expect that you will learn THE Answer to something. Because once you think you know it all, you will be quick to discount or to judge. Keep an open mind and remember that each person’s experience, each person’s reality is unique – so that person’s Answer may not be your Answer.

031:

More than 20 years ago, when I attended my stepson's graduation ceremony at Cornell. I heard this advice from their speaker, Mario Cuomo, "Find something you like to do in life, and find someone willing to pay you for it."

 

Barbara Bush was a controversial commencement speaker at Wellesley in 1990. I love reading her speech (found in "Women at the Podium, Memorable Speeches in History"). She said, "For over 50 years, it was said that the winner of Wellesley's Annual Hoop Race would be the first to get married. Now they say the winner will be the first to become a CEO. Both of these stereotypes show too little tolerance........ So I offer you today a new legend: the winner of the Hoop race will be the first to realize her dream...not society's dream...her own personal dream."

033:

I wouldn’t say this to a new graduate because that is a time for messages like…believe in yourself…shoot for the stars…if you can see it, you can be it…etc…and this might sound a wee bit cynical. But I think what a person needs in life, along with confidence and motivation and determination and idealism and talent and a good education is resilience, because in one way or another, life happens in unexpected ways to everyone.

 

Note from IWD about commencement advice from celebrities:

“Tashi Delay.” “I honor the greatness in you.”

 

The valedictorian at University of San Diego, who was also a member of the varsity swim team, said that this Tibetan greeting was the way her team began each swim meet.

 

Her speech was followed by a commencement address by Larry King.

 

and recovering from mistakes and humiliations. He told the story of when he was in junior high: A boy at his school had to move to Arizona suddenly with his family so he could be treated for TB, Larry and two of his friends decided to take advantage of the opportunity and tell officials and other students at the school he had died. They collected $211 for flowers and spent it on candy and movies.

 

School officials were so impressed with the boys’ efforts, they decided to hold an annual memorial event for the departed student, give a scholarship in his name, and honor the three boys who had so unselfishly raised funds to remember him. When the boy suddenly returned to school, the three were exposed and suspended.

 

One of the other boys grew up to be Herb Cohen, renowned negotiator and author of “You Can Negotiate Anything.” The second boy went on to become a highly respected neurosurgeon and Larry King went on to become... well, Larry King.

Denzel Washington, University of Pennsylvania, 2011:

“Anything worth doing involves some risk."

 

“People sometimes say you should have something to fall back on. I’m not going to 'fall back' on anything (except my faith). I want to FALL FORWARD. At least I can see what I’m going to hit.”

 

“You will fail. You will lose. You will suck at something… Be open to life. Be open to new views and new opinions.”

 

“Fall Forward.”

Sully Sullenberger, Purdue University, 2011:

(Pilot of airplane that landed in the Hudson River, January 2010):

“…the events on January 15 were the result of a crew effort, that it was not just about me. The rest of my crew isn't here today, but if they were, I know what my First Officer Jeff Skiles would say. Jeff would say, ‘You know, I deserve some recognition, too. After all, I'm the one who flew the airplane into the birds and made Sully the hero he is today.’"

 

“We never gave up. We never lost faith in ourselves or each other. In a similar fashion, for each of you, no matter how dire a situation is, know that further action is almost always possible - and when you're part of a well-trained team, your chances of getting through a challenge or a crisis are immeasurably better than when you're not. When we are true to our ideas and work together, there is little we cannot accomplish.”

 

“…in every encounter with another person, there is inherently an opportunity for good, for ill, or for indifference. There is an opportunity to be a leader; there is an opportunity to be a teammate; there is an opportunity to take responsibility; there is an opportunity to make a difference.”

2011 Commencement Speaker at Dartmouth will be Conan O’Brien:

Note from IWD: When he gave the address at Harvard in 2000 – O’Brien recalled that when he graduated from Harvard in 1985, he had wanted to give a speech but was rejected. He said that, if allowed to speak that day, he would’ve have made these predictions:

 

"Fellow students, as we sit here today listening to that classic A-ha tune which will definitely stand the test of time, I would like to make several predictions about what the future will hold: "I believe that one day a simple Governor from a small Southern state will rise to the highest office in the land. He will lack political skill, but will lead on the sheer strength of his moral authority." "I believe that Justice will prevail and, one day, the Berlin Wall will crumble, uniting East and West Berlin forever under Communist rule." "I believe that one day, a high speed network of interconnected computers will spring up world-wide, so enriching people that they will lose their interest in idle chit chat and pornography." "And finally, I believe that one day I will have a television show on a major network, seen by millions of people a night, which I will use to re-enact crimes and help catch at-large criminals."

Stephen Colbert, Knox College, 2006:

'I have two last pieces of advice. First, being pre-approved for a credit card does not mean you have to apply for it. And lastly, the best career advice I can give you is to get your own TV show. It pays well, the hours are good, and you are famous.'

Russell Baker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and political satirist – Connecticut College, 1995:

'The best advice I can give anybody about going out into the world is this: Don't do it. I have been out there. It is a mess.' His remarks also focused on a list of 'ten ways to avoid mucking up the world more than it already is, including 'sleep in the nude' and 'don't take your gun to town.'

David Foster Wallace, Author -- Kenyon College, 1995:

"Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed."

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) -- Lake Forest College, 1977:

(In place of a traditional speech, he recited an original poem)

My Uncle Terwilliger on the Art of Eating Popovers:

'As you partake of the world's bill of fare,

that's darned good advice to follow.

Do a lot of spitting out the hot air.

And be careful what you swallow.'

 

Note from IWD: 10 People who didn’t hear advice from a commencement speaker – because they didn’t graduate from college:

Ansel Adams

Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics)

Halle Berry

Michael Dell (founder of Dell, Inc.)

Henry Ford

Bill Gates

Rachel Ray

Steven Spielberg

Frank Lloyd Wright

Mark Zuckerberg

Jon Huntsman, Southern New Hampshire University, 2011:

United States should not resign itself to China's growing influence. He also said civility would be a key component to maintaining the United States' advantages over China.

 

"You hear how the Chinese economy is going to swamp us. Don't believe it. China has its own problems. And we have our own strengths," said Huntsman, a fluent Mandarin speaker who slipped into his second language to address the international students. "I mean, there is a reason that Google was started in America and not Russia or Germany or China."

Michelle Obama, West Point, graduation banquet, 2011:

Urged cadets to think about the families of the soldiers they will lead.

 

Note from IWD: Last month, Mrs. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden launched “Joining Forces,” an initiative to help military families who face challenges such as frequently moving and having a parent or spouse at war.

Thomas Friedman, Tulane University, 2011:

Note from IWD: Honorary degrees were given by Tulane to Cokie Roberts and Little Stevie Wonder who serenaded the graduates with “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.”

 

Earlier that day, Friedman spoke at the American Institute of Architects annual convention and talked about some of the themes he included in his 2008 bestselling book “Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Global Revolution – and How It Can Change America.”

 

He cautioned his audience that there’s no time to waste.

 

"One word we're going to have to eliminate from our dictionaries is 'later,'" he said. "'Later' is officially over."

 

"Green is the new revolution," he said victory will come when clients no longer have to specify that a building have such features.

 

"The word 'green' will disappear," he said. "There will be no such thing as a green building. There will be just a building."

 

Bringing about these changes will require not only innovators in fields such as architecture and urban planning, but also regulators who will set such standards and make them stick, Friedman said.

 

"Someone in authority needs to say we have to pay the real price of change," he said. "We're at a critical juncture for our country and our environment. We've got to get back to work on both. The project could not be broader; the stakes could not be higher.“

007:

I just sent this link to my cousin who's two months away from graduation and starting to send out job applications. It has tips to correct common mistakes that women tend to make during negotiations. I'm a business owner and found it useful for myself, but I wish I had known all this 12 years ago when I graduated. Maybe I could have avoided some frustration. http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-things-women-should-never-say-when-negotiating?intlink=us-openf-nav-mostpopular

213:

An item I saw on CNN.com: A hospice chaplain was saying that among the people he visits who are sick and dying, they talk about their families – not about theology and theories. He said, “We live our lives in our families. This is where we find meaning, this is where our purpose becomes clear.”

048:

From several years ago, I saved this advice from a graduation speech by Dr. Carlos Cortez (creator of Dora the Explorer). (I had to search for my notes and I hope they are close enough to what he actually said. But whatever…I think they’re pretty good.) He outlined three needs for the betterment of our future: creativity, civility, and empathy. “Our future lies in our vigilant attempt to unleash creative minds to help us address our complex social issues, educate students to be civil when they disagree, capable of seriously discussing complex, even controversial issues, and prioritizing our cognitive and emotional understanding of others, whose values, perspectives and worldviews are vastly different from or conflict with our own."

267:

True happiness is being faithful to your true nature. The better you know yourself-what it is you love, what inspires you, what you are made of- the happier you will be. When you forget who you are, something very strange happens- you begin to search for happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I have had a wonderful life, but as I look back, I wish I would have taken more time with my children. I also wish I would have, "Taken time to smell the roses". Life becomes a whirlwind and we forget we are only here for a short time. Enjoy nature and all it has to offer.

068:

LIFE ADVICE... I read a lovely quote from a beach book by Kate Morton, HOUSE AT RIVERTON, about the joys of grandparenting "because all the guilt and responsibility is gone leaving the joy and the fun"...

 

I find myself at this point in life with very elderly parents and a 94 year old father-in-law moving towards the end of their lives I admire so much the courage I see from these pillars of our family. But I wonder what it is that makes some see the cup half full while others see it half empty....I always want to see my cup as running over, but what makes us keep that vision? Will I be worthy?

060:

Many… MANY… years ago, I read a little book named “Advice to a Young Wife from an Old Mistress,” a book written in the 1960s, -- and I remember thinking it held wise and relevant insights into trying to navigate through life as a marriage partner. I especially remember being glued to every word as the author described the relationship between money and love.

012:

To a recent graduate, I would say: Don’t let graduation be the end of your education. You’ll need in this world to be much smarter than you are today. You’ll need to decide what to embrace about “the new” and what to keep about “the old.” The world will move so fast, if you can’t grasp it, it will leave you behind. Keep learning.

148:

My best advice would be to stay focused, deal with things honestly and try to see both sides of an issue.

030:

When facing anything and everything that comes my way and planning what to do next, I try to remember-'Go as far as you can see - when you get there you can see further.'

 

Pretty much a fail-safe process that eliminates crystal balls and an ability to look around corners. 'Life-in-advance' calendars don't often stay on course anyway.

 

Note from IWD: The New York Times was only three weeks behind us in reporting key messages from commencement speakers.

 

They also conducted a study of which words were used most often in commencement speeches. The top four were “world,” “country,” “love,” “work/career,” and “service." Used far less often were “money,” “happiness,” and “success.”

IWD:

Note from IWD: There’s some good news about jobs for today’s graduates: According to a new report released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers are planning to hire 19.3 percent more new college graduates this year than last year -- the highest increase since 2007.

 

The report, released May 12, shows an even brighter outlook than the 13 percent increase in the number of college graduate hires it predicted last fall.

 

Starting salaries also are better. In February, the Bethlehem, Pa.-based organization reported that the average starting salary offers for college seniors were up about 3.5 percent from the same time last year -- a first since 2008.

 

But we all know, there’s more to life than a job!

068:

A few thoughts for a college graduate: Despite the rise in prominence of virtual technologies, real relationships with real people will provide the foundation for your happiness and success. No matter how many "friends“ you may have on Facebook, the friends who will come to your aid in a crisis are the ones that you want to nourish with personal time and attention. It's hard to draw lasting inspiration from bloggers, tweets, or casual postings to your Facebook page. Allow yourself to be inspired by real people who have real experience with the things you value.

105:

Look forward to something – wholeheartedly and continuously. Whether it happens the way you hope it will or not, looking forward to something is one of life’s best experiences.

069:

When the joke's on you lead the laughter! And for those setting off to college - 075: Keep your eye on the books, but have fun, too.

121:

Don’t expect that you will learn THE Answer to something. Because once you think you know it all, you will be quick to discount or to judge. Keep an open mind and remember that each person’s experience, each person’s reality is unique – so that person’s Answer may not be your Answer.

031:

More than 20 years ago, when I attended my stepson's graduation ceremony at Cornell. I heard this advice from their speaker, Mario Cuomo, "Find something you like to do in life, and find someone willing to pay you for it."

 

Barbara Bush was a controversial commencement speaker at Wellesley in 1990. I love reading her speech (found in "Women at the Podium, Memorable Speeches in History"). She said, "For over 50 years, it was said that the winner of Wellesley's Annual Hoop Race would be the first to get married. Now they say the winner will be the first to become a CEO. Both of these stereotypes show too little tolerance........ So I offer you today a new legend: the winner of the Hoop race will be the first to realize her dream...not society's dream...her own personal dream."

033:

I wouldn’t say this to a new graduate because that is a time for messages like…believe in yourself…shoot for the stars…if you can see it, you can be it…etc…and this might sound a wee bit cynical. But I think what a person needs in life, along with confidence and motivation and determination and idealism and talent and a good education is resilience, because in one way or another, life happens in unexpected ways to everyone.

 

Note from IWD about commencement advice from celebrities:

“Tashi Delay.” “I honor the greatness in you.”

 

The valedictorian at University of San Diego, who was also a member of the varsity swim team, said that this Tibetan greeting was the way her team began each swim meet.

 

Her speech was followed by a commencement address by Larry King.

 

and recovering from mistakes and humiliations. He told the story of when he was in junior high: A boy at his school had to move to Arizona suddenly with his family so he could be treated for TB, Larry and two of his friends decided to take advantage of the opportunity and tell officials and other students at the school he had died. They collected $211 for flowers and spent it on candy and movies.

 

School officials were so impressed with the boys’ efforts, they decided to hold an annual memorial event for the departed student, give a scholarship in his name, and honor the three boys who had so unselfishly raised funds to remember him. When the boy suddenly returned to school, the three were exposed and suspended.

 

One of the other boys grew up to be Herb Cohen, renowned negotiator and author of “You Can Negotiate Anything.” The second boy went on to become a highly respected neurosurgeon and Larry King went on to become... well, Larry King.

Denzel Washington, University of Pennsylvania, 2011:

“Anything worth doing involves some risk."

 

“People sometimes say you should have something to fall back on. I’m not going to 'fall back' on anything (except my faith). I want to FALL FORWARD. At least I can see what I’m going to hit.”

 

“You will fail. You will lose. You will suck at something… Be open to life. Be open to new views and new opinions.”

 

“Fall Forward.”

Sully Sullenberger, Purdue University, 2011:

(Pilot of airplane that landed in the Hudson River, January 2010):

“…the events on January 15 were the result of a crew effort, that it was not just about me. The rest of my crew isn't here today, but if they were, I know what my First Officer Jeff Skiles would say. Jeff would say, ‘You know, I deserve some recognition, too. After all, I'm the one who flew the airplane into the birds and made Sully the hero he is today.’"

 

“We never gave up. We never lost faith in ourselves or each other. In a similar fashion, for each of you, no matter how dire a situation is, know that further action is almost always possible - and when you're part of a well-trained team, your chances of getting through a challenge or a crisis are immeasurably better than when you're not. When we are true to our ideas and work together, there is little we cannot accomplish.”

 

“…in every encounter with another person, there is inherently an opportunity for good, for ill, or for indifference. There is an opportunity to be a leader; there is an opportunity to be a teammate; there is an opportunity to take responsibility; there is an opportunity to make a difference.”

2011 Commencement Speaker at Dartmouth will be Conan O’Brien:

Note from IWD: When he gave the address at Harvard in 2000 – O’Brien recalled that when he graduated from Harvard in 1985, he had wanted to give a speech but was rejected. He said that, if allowed to speak that day, he would’ve have made these predictions:

 

"Fellow students, as we sit here today listening to that classic A-ha tune which will definitely stand the test of time, I would like to make several predictions about what the future will hold: "I believe that one day a simple Governor from a small Southern state will rise to the highest office in the land. He will lack political skill, but will lead on the sheer strength of his moral authority." "I believe that Justice will prevail and, one day, the Berlin Wall will crumble, uniting East and West Berlin forever under Communist rule." "I believe that one day, a high speed network of interconnected computers will spring up world-wide, so enriching people that they will lose their interest in idle chit chat and pornography." "And finally, I believe that one day I will have a television show on a major network, seen by millions of people a night, which I will use to re-enact crimes and help catch at-large criminals."

Stephen Colbert, Knox College, 2006:

'I have two last pieces of advice. First, being pre-approved for a credit card does not mean you have to apply for it. And lastly, the best career advice I can give you is to get your own TV show. It pays well, the hours are good, and you are famous.'

Russell Baker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and political satirist – Connecticut College, 1995:

'The best advice I can give anybody about going out into the world is this: Don't do it. I have been out there. It is a mess.' His remarks also focused on a list of 'ten ways to avoid mucking up the world more than it already is, including 'sleep in the nude' and 'don't take your gun to town.'

David Foster Wallace, Author -- Kenyon College, 1995:

"Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed."

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) -- Lake Forest College, 1977:

(In place of a traditional speech, he recited an original poem)

My Uncle Terwilliger on the Art of Eating Popovers:

'As you partake of the world's bill of fare,

that's darned good advice to follow.

Do a lot of spitting out the hot air.

And be careful what you swallow.'

 

Note from IWD: 10 People who didn’t hear advice from a commencement speaker – because they didn’t graduate from college:

Ansel Adams

Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics)

Halle Berry

Michael Dell (founder of Dell, Inc.)

Henry Ford

Bill Gates

Rachel Ray

Steven Spielberg

Frank Lloyd Wright

Mark Zuckerberg

Jon Huntsman, Southern New Hampshire University, 2011:

United States should not resign itself to China's growing influence. He also said civility would be a key component to maintaining the United States' advantages over China.

 

"You hear how the Chinese economy is going to swamp us. Don't believe it. China has its own problems. And we have our own strengths," said Huntsman, a fluent Mandarin speaker who slipped into his second language to address the international students. "I mean, there is a reason that Google was started in America and not Russia or Germany or China."

Michelle Obama, West Point, graduation banquet, 2011:

Urged cadets to think about the families of the soldiers they will lead.

 

Note from IWD: Last month, Mrs. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden launched “Joining Forces,” an initiative to help military families who face challenges such as frequently moving and having a parent or spouse at war.

Thomas Friedman, Tulane University, 2011:

Note from IWD: Honorary degrees were given by Tulane to Cokie Roberts and Little Stevie Wonder who serenaded the graduates with “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.”

 

Earlier that day, Friedman spoke at the American Institute of Architects annual convention and talked about some of the themes he included in his 2008 bestselling book “Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Global Revolution – and How It Can Change America.”

 

He cautioned his audience that there’s no time to waste.

 

"One word we're going to have to eliminate from our dictionaries is 'later,'" he said. "'Later' is officially over."

 

"Green is the new revolution," he said victory will come when clients no longer have to specify that a building have such features.

 

"The word 'green' will disappear," he said. "There will be no such thing as a green building. There will be just a building."

 

Bringing about these changes will require not only innovators in fields such as architecture and urban planning, but also regulators who will set such standards and make them stick, Friedman said.

 

"Someone in authority needs to say we have to pay the real price of change," he said. "We're at a critical juncture for our country and our environment. We've got to get back to work on both. The project could not be broader; the stakes could not be higher.“

Thomas Friedman, Tulane University, 2011:

Note from IWD: Honorary degrees were given by Tulane to Cokie Roberts and Little Stevie Wonder who serenaded the graduates with “You Are the Sunshine of My Life.”

 

Earlier that day, Friedman spoke at the American Institute of Architects annual convention and talked about some of the themes he included in his 2008 bestselling book “Hot, Flat and Crowded: Why We Need a Global Revolution – and How It Can Change America.”

 

He cautioned his audience that there’s no time to waste.

 

"One word we're going to have to eliminate from our dictionaries is 'later,'" he said. "'Later' is officially over."

 

"Green is the new revolution," he said victory will come when clients no longer have to specify that a building have such features.

 

"The word 'green' will disappear," he said. "There will be no such thing as a green building. There will be just a building."

 

Bringing about these changes will require not only innovators in fields such as architecture and urban planning, but also regulators who will set such standards and make them stick, Friedman said.

 

"Someone in authority needs to say we have to pay the real price of change," he said. "We're at a critical juncture for our country and our environment. We've got to get back to work on both. The project could not be broader; the stakes could not be higher.“

Michelle Obama, West Point, graduation banquet, 2011:

Urged cadets to think about the families of the soldiers they will lead.

 

Note from IWD: Last month, Mrs. Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden launched “Joining Forces,” an initiative to help military families who face challenges such as frequently moving and having a parent or spouse at war.

Jon Huntsman, Southern New Hampshire University, 2011:

United States should not resign itself to China's growing influence. He also said civility would be a key component to maintaining the United States' advantages over China.

 

"You hear how the Chinese economy is going to swamp us. Don't believe it. China has its own problems. And we have our own strengths," said Huntsman, a fluent Mandarin speaker who slipped into his second language to address the international students. "I mean, there is a reason that Google was started in America and not Russia or Germany or China."

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel) -- Lake Forest College, 1977:

(In place of a traditional speech, he recited an original poem)

My Uncle Terwilliger on the Art of Eating Popovers:

'As you partake of the world's bill of fare,

that's darned good advice to follow.

Do a lot of spitting out the hot air.

And be careful what you swallow.'

 

Note from IWD: 10 People who didn’t hear advice from a commencement speaker – because they didn’t graduate from college:

Ansel Adams

Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics)

Halle Berry

Michael Dell (founder of Dell, Inc.)

Henry Ford

Bill Gates

Rachel Ray

Steven Spielberg

Frank Lloyd Wright

Mark Zuckerberg

David Foster Wallace, Author -- Kenyon College, 1995:

"Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience. Because if you cannot exercise this kind of choice in adult life, you will be totally hosed."

Russell Baker, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and political satirist – Connecticut College, 1995:

'The best advice I can give anybody about going out into the world is this: Don't do it. I have been out there. It is a mess.' His remarks also focused on a list of 'ten ways to avoid mucking up the world more than it already is, including 'sleep in the nude' and 'don't take your gun to town.'

Stephen Colbert, Knox College, 2006:

'I have two last pieces of advice. First, being pre-approved for a credit card does not mean you have to apply for it. And lastly, the best career advice I can give you is to get your own TV show. It pays well, the hours are good, and you are famous.'

2011 Commencement Speaker at Dartmouth will be Conan O’Brien:

Note from IWD: When he gave the address at Harvard in 2000 – O’Brien recalled that when he graduated from Harvard in 1985, he had wanted to give a speech but was rejected. He said that, if allowed to speak that day, he would’ve have made these predictions:

 

"Fellow students, as we sit here today listening to that classic A-ha tune which will definitely stand the test of time, I would like to make several predictions about what the future will hold: "I believe that one day a simple Governor from a small Southern state will rise to the highest office in the land. He will lack political skill, but will lead on the sheer strength of his moral authority." "I believe that Justice will prevail and, one day, the Berlin Wall will crumble, uniting East and West Berlin forever under Communist rule." "I believe that one day, a high speed network of interconnected computers will spring up world-wide, so enriching people that they will lose their interest in idle chit chat and pornography." "And finally, I believe that one day I will have a television show on a major network, seen by millions of people a night, which I will use to re-enact crimes and help catch at-large criminals."

Sully Sullenberger, Purdue University, 2011:

(Pilot of airplane that landed in the Hudson River, January 2010):

“…the events on January 15 were the result of a crew effort, that it was not just about me. The rest of my crew isn't here today, but if they were, I know what my First Officer Jeff Skiles would say. Jeff would say, ‘You know, I deserve some recognition, too. After all, I'm the one who flew the airplane into the birds and made Sully the hero he is today.’"

 

“We never gave up. We never lost faith in ourselves or each other. In a similar fashion, for each of you, no matter how dire a situation is, know that further action is almost always possible - and when you're part of a well-trained team, your chances of getting through a challenge or a crisis are immeasurably better than when you're not. When we are true to our ideas and work together, there is little we cannot accomplish.”

 

“…in every encounter with another person, there is inherently an opportunity for good, for ill, or for indifference. There is an opportunity to be a leader; there is an opportunity to be a teammate; there is an opportunity to take responsibility; there is an opportunity to make a difference.”

Denzel Washington, University of Pennsylvania, 2011:

“Anything worth doing involves some risk."

 

“People sometimes say you should have something to fall back on. I’m not going to 'fall back' on anything (except my faith). I want to FALL FORWARD. At least I can see what I’m going to hit.”

 

“You will fail. You will lose. You will suck at something… Be open to life. Be open to new views and new opinions.”

 

“Fall Forward.”

033:

I wouldn’t say this to a new graduate because that is a time for messages like…believe in yourself…shoot for the stars…if you can see it, you can be it…etc…and this might sound a wee bit cynical. But I think what a person needs in life, along with confidence and motivation and determination and idealism and talent and a good education is resilience, because in one way or another, life happens in unexpected ways to everyone.

 

Note from IWD about commencement advice from celebrities:

“Tashi Delay.” “I honor the greatness in you.”

 

The valedictorian at University of San Diego, who was also a member of the varsity swim team, said that this Tibetan greeting was the way her team began each swim meet.

 

Her speech was followed by a commencement address by Larry King.

 

and recovering from mistakes and humiliations. He told the story of when he was in junior high: A boy at his school had to move to Arizona suddenly with his family so he could be treated for TB, Larry and two of his friends decided to take advantage of the opportunity and tell officials and other students at the school he had died. They collected $211 for flowers and spent it on candy and movies.

 

School officials were so impressed with the boys’ efforts, they decided to hold an annual memorial event for the departed student, give a scholarship in his name, and honor the three boys who had so unselfishly raised funds to remember him. When the boy suddenly returned to school, the three were exposed and suspended.

 

One of the other boys grew up to be Herb Cohen, renowned negotiator and author of “You Can Negotiate Anything.” The second boy went on to become a highly respected neurosurgeon and Larry King went on to become... well, Larry King.

031:

More than 20 years ago, when I attended my stepson's graduation ceremony at Cornell. I heard this advice from their speaker, Mario Cuomo, "Find something you like to do in life, and find someone willing to pay you for it."

 

Barbara Bush was a controversial commencement speaker at Wellesley in 1990. I love reading her speech (found in "Women at the Podium, Memorable Speeches in History"). She said, "For over 50 years, it was said that the winner of Wellesley's Annual Hoop Race would be the first to get married. Now they say the winner will be the first to become a CEO. Both of these stereotypes show too little tolerance........ So I offer you today a new legend: the winner of the Hoop race will be the first to realize her dream...not society's dream...her own personal dream."

121:

Don’t expect that you will learn THE Answer to something. Because once you think you know it all, you will be quick to discount or to judge. Keep an open mind and remember that each person’s experience, each person’s reality is unique – so that person’s Answer may not be your Answer.

069:

When the joke's on you lead the laughter! And for those setting off to college - 075: Keep your eye on the books, but have fun, too.

105:

Look forward to something – wholeheartedly and continuously. Whether it happens the way you hope it will or not, looking forward to something is one of life’s best experiences.

068:

A few thoughts for a college graduate: Despite the rise in prominence of virtual technologies, real relationships with real people will provide the foundation for your happiness and success. No matter how many "friends“ you may have on Facebook, the friends who will come to your aid in a crisis are the ones that you want to nourish with personal time and attention. It's hard to draw lasting inspiration from bloggers, tweets, or casual postings to your Facebook page. Allow yourself to be inspired by real people who have real experience with the things you value.

IWD:

Note from IWD: There’s some good news about jobs for today’s graduates: According to a new report released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers are planning to hire 19.3 percent more new college graduates this year than last year -- the highest increase since 2007.

 

The report, released May 12, shows an even brighter outlook than the 13 percent increase in the number of college graduate hires it predicted last fall.

 

Starting salaries also are better. In February, the Bethlehem, Pa.-based organization reported that the average starting salary offers for college seniors were up about 3.5 percent from the same time last year -- a first since 2008.

 

But we all know, there’s more to life than a job!

030:

When facing anything and everything that comes my way and planning what to do next, I try to remember-'Go as far as you can see - when you get there you can see further.'

 

Pretty much a fail-safe process that eliminates crystal balls and an ability to look around corners. 'Life-in-advance' calendars don't often stay on course anyway.

 

Note from IWD: The New York Times was only three weeks behind us in reporting key messages from commencement speakers.

 

They also conducted a study of which words were used most often in commencement speeches. The top four were “world,” “country,” “love,” “work/career,” and “service." Used far less often were “money,” “happiness,” and “success.”

148:

My best advice would be to stay focused, deal with things honestly and try to see both sides of an issue.

012:

To a recent graduate, I would say: Don’t let graduation be the end of your education. You’ll need in this world to be much smarter than you are today. You’ll need to decide what to embrace about “the new” and what to keep about “the old.” The world will move so fast, if you can’t grasp it, it will leave you behind. Keep learning.

060:

Many… MANY… years ago, I read a little book named “Advice to a Young Wife from an Old Mistress,” a book written in the 1960s, -- and I remember thinking it held wise and relevant insights into trying to navigate through life as a marriage partner. I especially remember being glued to every word as the author described the relationship between money and love.

068:

LIFE ADVICE... I read a lovely quote from a beach book by Kate Morton, HOUSE AT RIVERTON, about the joys of grandparenting "because all the guilt and responsibility is gone leaving the joy and the fun"...

 

I find myself at this point in life with very elderly parents and a 94 year old father-in-law moving towards the end of their lives I admire so much the courage I see from these pillars of our family. But I wonder what it is that makes some see the cup half full while others see it half empty....I always want to see my cup as running over, but what makes us keep that vision? Will I be worthy?

267:

True happiness is being faithful to your true nature. The better you know yourself-what it is you love, what inspires you, what you are made of- the happier you will be. When you forget who you are, something very strange happens- you begin to search for happiness!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

I have had a wonderful life, but as I look back, I wish I would have taken more time with my children. I also wish I would have, "Taken time to smell the roses". Life becomes a whirlwind and we forget we are only here for a short time. Enjoy nature and all it has to offer.

048:

From several years ago, I saved this advice from a graduation speech by Dr. Carlos Cortez (creator of Dora the Explorer). (I had to search for my notes and I hope they are close enough to what he actually said. But whatever…I think they’re pretty good.) He outlined three needs for the betterment of our future: creativity, civility, and empathy. “Our future lies in our vigilant attempt to unleash creative minds to help us address our complex social issues, educate students to be civil when they disagree, capable of seriously discussing complex, even controversial issues, and prioritizing our cognitive and emotional understanding of others, whose values, perspectives and worldviews are vastly different from or conflict with our own."

213:

An item I saw on CNN.com: A hospice chaplain was saying that among the people he visits who are sick and dying, they talk about their families – not about theology and theories. He said, “We live our lives in our families. This is where we find meaning, this is where our purpose becomes clear.”

007:

I just sent this link to my cousin who's two months away from graduation and starting to send out job applications. It has tips to correct common mistakes that women tend to make during negotiations. I'm a business owner and found it useful for myself, but I wish I had known all this 12 years ago when I graduated. Maybe I could have avoided some frustration. http://www.openforum.com/articles/5-things-women-should-never-say-when-negotiating?intlink=us-openf-nav-mostpopular

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