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‘Don’t Be a D!ck’: The 21 Best Graduation Speeches of 2012

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By India Kushner on June 6, 2012

1) Peter Dinklage’s speech at Bennington College began with him thanking the school for helping him put the fear of God into the audience that night. Among many jokes, he noted, “There are not shinier, more important people out there. Your fellow students, your friends, sitting around you are as good as it gets.”

2) Oprah Winfrey spoke to Spelman College, advising grads to surround themselves with people who would “fill your cup until your cup runneth over, so when people say, ‘You’re so full of yourself,’ you can say, ‘Yeah!’”

3) Bill Nye the Science Guy spoke to RIT on the environment, urging graduates to change the world and lead the world on new paths. He also gave this solid piece of advice: If you’re going to have a bucket of water thrown in your face, untuck your shirt (it dries faster).

4) Barack Obama spoke at Barnard College about the challenges the female graduates would face, such as equal pay in the workforce, balancing a job and family, controlling health-care decisions. He asked his audience not to believe the stream of everyday sensationalist news stories that “tell you change isn’t possible, you can’t make a difference.”

And while he was speaking, bankrobbers held up the Chase five blocks away.

5) Andy Samberg’s speech at Harvard University was filled with the jokes you’d expect from an SNL star. “I am as honored to be here today as I am unqualified,” he told the Crimson, before venturing into serious territory: “As you move forward into the world, there will be obstacles, but every challenge is a chance for success.” He went on to say that he had had an inspirational section, but “it just feels phony now.”

6) Michele Bachmann, Regent University

7) John Kerry, Mount Ida College


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