Why Steve Jobs’ 2005 commencement speech is the most watched in history



The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

What makes a commencement speech great? Wit, wisdom and a joke or two are just some of the ingredients required to keep the attention of graduates — and hopefully inspire them for life. Scroll through to discover more about the most memorable speeches of all time.

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Actor Denzel Washington, University of Pennsylvania, 2011 — “The world needs a lot — and we need it from you, the young people. So get out there. Give it everything you’ve got — whether it’s your time, your talent, your prayers, or your treasure. Because remember this: You’ll never see a U-haul behind a hearse.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Talk show host and television producer Oprah Winfrey, Harvard University, 2013 — “Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Actor Robert De Niro, Tisch School of the Arts, New York University, 2015 — “When it comes to the arts, passion should always trump common sense. You aren’t just following dreams, you’re reaching for your destiny.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Actor and writer Mindy Kaling, Dartmouth College, 2018 — “If you have a checklist, good for you. Structured ambition can sometimes be motivating. But also, feel free to let it go. Yes, my culminating advice from my speech is a song from the Disney animated movie ‘Frozen.'”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Former First Lady Michelle Obama, YouTube’s Dear Class of 2020 — “Deep and loving connections with others, honest work that leads to lasting contributions to your community. The vibrancy that comes from a diversity of ideas and perspectives, the chance to leave this world a little better than you found it. Don’t deprive yourselves of all that. There is no substitute for it.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Artist Makoto Fujimura, Belhaven University, 2011 — “The arts are not a peripheral luxury for the elite few, but a central necessity, how a civilization is to be defined, and how our humanity is to be restored.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Technology businessman Michael Dell, University of Texas at Austin, 2003 — “Recognize that there will be failures, and acknowledge that there will be obstacles. But you will learn from your mistakes and the mistakes of others, for there is very little learning in success.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Author George Saunders, Syracuse University, 2013 — “What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness. Those moments when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded … sensibly. Reservedly. Mildly.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Actor and producer Kerry Washington, George Washington University, 2013 — “When you leave here today and commence the next stage of your life, you can follow someone else’s script, try to make choices that will make other people happy, avoid discomfort, do what is expected and copy the status quo or you can look at all that you have accomplished today and use it as fuel to venture forth and write your own story. If you do, amazing things will take shape.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005 — “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

US soccer player Abby Wambach, Barnard College, 2018 — “Joy. Success. Power. These are not pies where a bigger slice for her means a smaller slice for you. These are infinite. In any revolution, the way to make something true starts with believing it is. Let’s claim infinite joy, success, and power — together.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Wellesley College, 2015 — “Do not twist yourself into shapes to please. Don’t do it. If someone likes that version of you, that version of you that is false and holds back, then they actually just like that twisted shape, and not you.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Former US President Barack Obama, Howard University, 2016 — “Change requires more than just speaking out — it requires listening, as well. In particular, it requires listening to those with whom you disagree, and being prepared to compromise.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Journalist and activist Gloria Steinem, Tufts University, 1987 — “Whatever you want to do, do it now. For life is time, and time is all there is.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Actor Chadwick Boseman, Howard University, 2018 — “When I dared to challenge the system that would relegate us to victims and stereotypes with no clear historical backgrounds, no hopes or talents, when I questioned that method of portrayal, a different path opened up for me, the path to my destiny.”

The most memorable commencement speeches of all time

Poet and playwright Seamus Heaney (left), University of Pennsylvania, 2000 — “Remember that the anchor of your being lies in human affection and human responsibility, but remember also to keep swimming up into the air of envisaged possibilities; and to keep on finding new answers to the question that (Benjamin) Franklin said was the noblest in the world, the question which he himself framed and which asks, ‘What good may I do in the world?'”



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