Scarsdale and Edgemont high schools hold their annual commencement ceremonies next Wednesday. As members of the senior classes gather in caps and gowns, speakers will deliver speeches, recognize achievements and offer congratulations. Words of wisdom about the future these students face — full of uncertainty and promise — surely await them.
Continuing our graduation season tradition, we have selected a sampling of excerpts of remarks delivered by college commencement speakers at campuses around the country.
“The truth is, you cannot fix everything. But what you can do, here and now, is make a decision, because life is about decisions. And the decision is that you will use your life in service; you will be in service to life. You will speak up. You will show up. You will stand up. You will sit in. You will volunteer. You will vote. You will shout out. You will help. You will lend a hand. You will offer your talent and your kindness however you can, and you will radically transform whatever moment you’re in — which leads to bigger moments. You have no idea what your legacy will be.”
— Oprah Winfrey, media executive, at Colorado College
“So, class of 2019, my word to all of you is: Never stop believing, never stop serving, and always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that you have, with gentleness and respect. Because our nation and our world need that message of grace and love these days maybe more than ever before.”
— Vice President Mike Pence at Taylor University
“If you want to save the world, you don’t need to be James Bond. In fact, right now our world doesn’t need a Bond. Our world doesn’t need a lone hero, out to solve things solo. We need people from different disciplines and walks of life, who are willing to work together, who can rely on one another, who can push forward, united … We need people who have a passion and a sense of a mission.”
— Pierce Brosnan, actor, at Dickinson College
“Nowadays, you are going to have to steer our spaceship. Take charge of Earth. It’s no longer a matter of just being good stewards. From now on, we humans will have to deliberately control what we do to our atmosphere, the land and sea to ensure that we maintain as much biodiversity as possible while taking care of all of us.”
— Bill Nye, scientist, at Goucher College
“I stand before my family, friends and graduating class today to say that I am proud to be a gay son of God.”
— Matt Easton, valedictorian at Brigham Young University
“The moment when you step out into the open is also a moment of risk-taking. Letting go of the old is part of a new beginning … I believe that time and time again we need to be prepared to keep bringing things to an end in order to feel the magic of new beginnings and to make the most of opportunities. That is what I learned as a student, as a scientist and it is what I experience now in politics.”
— Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany, at Harvard University