Every commencement address should be like John Lithgow's

Congratulations to all the recent college graduates in the Bleeding Heartland community. I hope you’ve grown and learned as much as I did in college, and I hope you don’t stop growing and learning once you’re out of school.

Reading this Des Moines Register collection of excerpts from commencement addresses, I realized that I don’t remember a single thing the speaker said during my own graduation ceremony. While searching for something else, I came across John Lithgow’s speech to the 2005 graduating class at Harvard. I highly recommend it.

Lithgow includes everything you want in a speech like this: humor (but not too much), social commentary (but not too much), and personal anecdotes that reflect his advice to the graduates (“be creative, be useful, be practical, and be generous”).

Instead of telling the audience how he achieved fame and success as an actor, Lithgow explained how he used his acting career to launch a “concurrent second career” as a children’s entertainer with a “secret agenda” to instill a love for the Arts in young people. Do click through–it’s a good read.

Share your own words of wisdom for new graduates in this thread.

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