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Software methodologist Kent Beck giving a commencement speech
The University of New Hampshire commencement, at which George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton spoke

A commencement speech or commencement address is a speech given to graduating students, generally at a university, generally in the United States, although the term is also used for secondary education institutions.

The "commencement" is a ceremony in which degrees or diplomas are conferred upon graduating students. A commencement speech is typically given by a notable figure in the community, during the commencement exercise. The person giving such a speech is known as a commencement speaker. Very commonly, colleges or universities will invite politicians, important citizens, or other noted speakers to come and address the graduating class.

A commencement speech is less bound by the structure found in other forms of public address, like eulogies or wedding speeches. The speaker accordingly enjoys a unique freedom to express him or herself. Executive speechwriter Anthony Trendl writes

A commencement speech, simply, is an opportunity to share your experience, values and advice. The precise form is up to you. This affords the speaker a platform to say amazing, unlimited things.[1]


Some notable commencement speechesEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Trendl, Anthony. "What Makes a Commencement Speech?".
  2. ^ a b "Top 10 Commencement Speeches". Time magazine. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  3. ^ "The 10 Best Graduation Speeches of All Time: Winston Churchill, Former UK PM". CNBC. Retrieved April 9, 2013.
  4. ^ "Student Speech". Wellesley College. Retrieved 2016-03-02.
  5. ^ Feynman, Richard P. (June 1974). "Cargo Cult Science" (PDF). California Institute of Technology. Retrieved 2015-10-25.
  6. ^ "'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says". Stanford Report. June 14, 2005. Retrieved November 30, 2013.
  7. ^ Levine, Sam (2016-05-20). "David Foster Wallace's Famous Commencement Speech Almost Didn't Happen". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2017-11-05.
  8. ^ J.K. Rowling Speaks at Harvard Commencement. 15 September 2011. Retrieved 28 March 2016 – via YouTube.
  9. ^ The Obama White House (7 May 2016). "President Obama Delivers the Commencement Address at Howard University". Retrieved 18 April 2018 – via YouTube.
  10. ^ "Steven Spielberg Selected as 2016 Commencement Speaker - News - The Harvard Crimson". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  11. ^ "Harvard Live - Harvard University". Harvard University. Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  12. ^ Staff, Entrepreneur (23 May 2016). "Peter Thiel Commencement Speech, Hamilton College, May 2016 (Transcript)". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  13. ^ Holly Foster (May 22, 2016). "PayPal Co-Founder Peter Thiel Urges Class of 2016 to "Do What Hasn't Been Done"". Retrieved December 28, 2016.
  14. ^ University of Michigan (2 May 2016). "Michael Bloomberg's 2016 Commencement Speech - University of Michigan". Retrieved 18 April 2018 – via YouTube.
  15. ^[dead link]
  16. ^ Duke University (15 May 2016). "Coach Mike Krzyzewski's 2016 Commencement Speech at Duke University". Retrieved 18 April 2018 – via YouTube.
  17. ^ "Hillsdale College's 164th Commencement Ceremony". Retrieved 18 April 2018.
  18. ^ "Trump at Liberty University commencement: 'In America, we don't worship government; we worship God'". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-15.
  19. ^ Bidgood, Jess; Seelye, Katharine Q. (2017-05-26). "At Wellesley, Hillary Clinton Criticizes Trump and Invokes Nixon Resignation". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  20. ^ Diamond, Anna. "What Hillary Clinton Said to the Wellesley Class of 2017". The Atlantic. Retrieved 2017-06-13.
  21. ^ "Commencement Address". Wellesley College. Retrieved 2017-06-13.

External linksEdit