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Updated by Renu on Oct 27, 2017
Headline for 10 Inspiring Commencement Speeches
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10 Inspiring Commencement Speeches

Watch these truly motivational commencement speeches. Listen to the inspiring stories and reflections of these accomplished individuals as they give out some priceless advice to the graduating students as they celebrate their academic achievements and transit to their next pivotal life experience.

Randy Pausch Inspires Graduates

Professor Randy Pausch made a surprise return to Carnegie Mellon University to deliver an inspirational speech to the Class of 2008 at the Commencement ceremony on May 18, 2008.

Pausch was included in TIME Magazine's 2008 list of the world's 100 most influential people. His book, "The Last Lecture," co-written by Jeff Zaslow of the Wall Street Journal and based on Pausch's now-famous talk "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams," is a New York Times #1 bestseller.

J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech | Harvard University Commencement 2008

J.K. Rowling, the celebrated author of the Harry Potter series of fantasy novels, is a classic “rags to riches” life success story. At the age of 28, as a depressed, unemployed single mother who lived on welfare, J.K. Rowling started writing the first Harry Potter book at a café. Within five years, thanks to the success of Harry Potter, she rose from obscurity to literary prominence and became a billionaire.

In her 2008 commencement address at Harvard University, J.K. Rowling urges graduates to persist through failures and despondency

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg Commencement Address | Harvard Commencement 2017

Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg gave his address at Harvard's 366th Commencement on May 25, 2017 at Tercentenary Theatre.

President Obama Delivers the Commencement Address at Howard University

Speaking at Howard University, Obama reflected on his status as the first African-American president, noting that the college's mission was to "ensure those firsts were not the last."

Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address (with intro by President John Hennessy)

Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks-- including death itself-- at Stanford University's 114th Commencement on Sunday in Stanford Stadium.

Bill Gates Harvard Commencement Address 2007

In his 2007 commencement address at Harvard University, Bill Gates urged graduates to discover and help solve the health and social inequalities that the world faces

Oprah Winfrey Harvard Commencement speech | Harvard Commencement 2013

Oprah Winfrey, who has used her success as a talk show host and media entrepreneur to promote education, civic engagement, and charitable works, addresses graduates at Harvard's 362nd Commencement on May 30, 2013 at Tercentenary Theatre.

Denzel Washington' Commencement Speech

Words of Wisdom from Denzel Washington

Fareed Zakaria Commencement Speech || Harvard University Commencement 2012

Fareed Zakaria, a Harvard alumnus whose insights into the power shifts setting the stage for a new global era have made him a celebrated thought leader on international affairs, was the principal speaker at the Afternoon Exercises of Harvard's 361st Commencement.

Former President Bill Clinton Class Day | Harvard Commencement 2007

Former President Bill Clinton addressed graduating students at Harvard's Class Day on June 7 in Tercentenary Theatre.