'Tis time to celebrate auspicious endings and terrifying beginnings as newly-minted graduates (from pre-school to Ph.Ds) don their mortarboards to say farewell to a location, a community and a familiar rhythm of life. Commencements (which means "beginnings") abound all over, marking the end of a student's affiliation with an institution of learning and the beginning of another chapter in the book of life. During these Commencements, plenty of speeches abound too (hours of them) in hallowed halls of academia far and wide.
Therefore in the spirit of "go forth and prosper" (Star Trek 101), I have posted three commencement speeches that provide plenty of rocket-fuel for all of us to lift off from wherever we wish to "commence" this summer.
First Lady Michelle Obama, at Spelman College in 2011, entreats us to find our 11 people to nurture and support.
Academy Awarding winning actress Meryl Streep, at Barnard College in 2010, urges us to cherish friendships and family above all else, for indeed those are the greatest rewards that life has to offer.
Celebrated author Jonathan Safran Foer, at Middlebury College in 2013, asks us to memorize the moment rather let digital recording replace our natural ability to remember (click on the Middlebury website).
"May the Force Be With You" (James Earl Jones, Purchase College Commencement, 2001),
Beth New York
aka Beth S. Gersh-Nesic, Ph.D.
New York Arts Exchange
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