Graduation Day: Here’s The Best Life Advice From 2019 Commencement Season

Graduation Day: Here’s The Best Life Advice From 2019 Commencement Season

Dwayne Wade, Oprah Winfrey, Missy Elliott and more are providing big time inspiration to this spring’s graduating class.

Published June 2nd

Universities and colleges had an amazing year of commencement speeches for the graduating class of 2019. From moving words that encourage you to keep going and never give up to surprise payments of student loans, the class of 2019 have been emboldened by some of the most successful and inspiring people in the world. Check out a few of our favorite for the year.

  1. Dwayne Wade

    At Stoneman Douglas High School, site of horrific February 2018 mass shooting: "I grew up in the inner city of Chicago and I’ve experienced a lot of awful things. But I’ve never experienced anything to the magnitude that you guys have just experienced. What started going through my mind was how do I dare come in here and act like I know what you guys have been going through? How narcissistic of me to think I can come here and make a difference because I’m good at my sport. I remember walking slowly to the cafeteria. As I was walking in, students started seeing me, I remember seeing smiles, people running, pulling out their phones. ... I remember thinking, ‘Wow.’ It was packed. I didn’t expect that.”

  2. Oprah Winfrey

    “I personally believe that positivity is something that we should bottle up because the world as we know it, and we see it, needs it… The good thing is your generation knows all of this already. I am just here to nudge you again as you move on from classrooms to boardrooms. When I look out, I see thinkers, innovators, rule breakers. I see ambition. I see energy. I see bold, audacious dreams that are bound to disrupt. History has been anticipating you. Don’t keep it waiting any longer, 2019 — and definitely don’t fail to make your mark.”

  3. Ruth Carter

    “After Amistad, it would be 21 years before I’d see my next nomination. That’s the entire span of your lives. During that time, I learned about self-validation and to try to stay true to my calling and purpose. When there is no outside source giving you validation and a feeling of worthiness, you have to look inward.”

  4. Robert Smith

    “On behalf of the eight generations of my family who have been in this country, we’re going to put a little fuel in your bus. This is the challenge to you, alumni. This is my class — 2019. And my family is making a grant to eliminate their student loans. Now, I know my class will make sure they pay this forward. And I want my class to look at these... beautiful Morehouse brothers, and let’s make sure every class has the same opportunity going forward.”

  5. Viola Davis

    “Own all the memories and the experiences, even if they were traumatic. The world is broken because we’re broken. There are too many of us who want to forget. Who said that all of who you are has to be good?”

  6. Pharrell

    “I personally believe that positivity is something that we should bottle up because the world as we know it, and we see it, needs it… The good thing is your generation knows all of this already. I am just here to nudge you again as you move on from classrooms to boardrooms. When I look out, I see thinkers, innovators, rule breakers. I see ambition. I see energy. I see bold, audacious dreams that are bound to disrupt. History has been anticipating you. Don’t keep it waiting any longer, 2019 — and definitely don’t fail to make your mark.”

  7. Missy Elliott

    “As long as you are breathing, it is never too late. Because people will tell you you’re too old, people will tell you it’ll never work. You have come too far to quit.”

  8. Karamo Brown

    “I remember my mentor telling me that as long as I was making myself happy and proud, I am a success. My destiny is determined by me. There was no need to fear my tomorrow because I believe in the person I am today.”

  9. Laverne Cox

    “As you go out into the world, you’re going to be faced with a lot of difficult decisions, a lot of things that will make you uncomfortable, that are complicated and nuanced issues. And sometimes you might just want to keep it simple. ‘Can we focus on this part of the issue right now and just leave this out ― leave this group of people out?’ And what I would like to remind you of today is that when we are leaving people out, we are not really doing the work to be inclusive.”

  10. Stacey Abrams

    Abrams on Georgia governor’s race against Republican Brian Kemp last November: “I did not fail, I fell. There is a difference. Failure is a moment. Falling is an activity. But rising up and moving forward — that is your obligation, that is your ambition and that is your opportunity. That is what we are here to do.”

  11. Maverick Carter

    “Smart boys get their MBA. Smart girls go to law school. Asian kids don’t work in hip-hop. Mexican kids don’t work in tech. Basketball players risk losing endorsement deals by speaking out on social issues. Friends of basketball players are happy to just hang out and should accept they’re part of a posse. From the moment you walk off this campus, you’re going to feel pressure to make the safe, obvious professional choices. To do what you’re supposed to do, rather than explore and discover what you may actually want to do. I’m standing here today as a living testament to make sure you all know what makes the most sense may not even make sense at all.”

Written by Tweety Elitou and Paul Meara

Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic and KENA BETANCUR/AFP/Getty Images

COMMENTS

Latest in style