Commencement Speeches = The Ultimate Closure?

Commencement speeches can be the illustrious closure to four years spent in libraries and lectures. They can give guidance for the years ahead and fill an excited graduate’s heart with courage and passion. Other times, they put everyone to sleep.

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David Foster Wallace’s Commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005 has to be one the best I have ever read. My jealousy for the people in the front row that day is infinite.

Wallace talks about liberal arts schools as places that teach you how to think about the people around you. It encourages you to acknowledge that your reality is not the only reality and that you are not the center of the universe. College can push you out of your comfort zone, thereby rocking your universe centered on you, and forcing you to experience other ways of being in the world which makes you nicer.

Who doesn’t want a world filled with very aware, very nice people?

Here’s a link to Wallace’s speech (long but so worth reading) and a New York Times list of the best commencement speeches ever given!

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