Robert De Niro
After receiving an honourary doctor of fine arts degree from Brown University, Oscar-winner Robert De Niro blasted President Donald Trump in his commencement speech, describing America "in movie terms" as noting that “in movie terms” as once being “an inspiring, uplifting drama” that is now “a tragic dumbass comedy.”
Helen Mirren Shares Words Of Wisdom
Helen Mirren used her commencement speech at Tulane University to take a few jabs at Donald Trump. "Whether you’re in the French Quarter or the Oval Office, no good can ever come from tweeting at 3 a.m.," she advised the 2017 graduating class. The Oscar-winning actress told students to become feminists, no matter their sex, adding, “It is clear that when women are given respect, and the ability and freedom to pursue their personal dreams and ambitions, life improves for everyone."
Will Ferrell Sings Whitney Houston's 'I Will Always Love You'
Leave it to Will Ferrell to bring the laughs, and tears through laughter, during a commencement speech at the University of Southern California.
The actor received an honourary doctorate degree from USC just before he sang his rendition of the late Whitney Houston’s classic song, “I Will Always Love You”.
"Go out in the world and f*** it up beautifully."
Rhode Island School of Design
Film director and visual artist John Waters recited a hilarious speech to the Rhode Island School of Design's Class of 2015 last week. Waters told the class that for the past 50 years he has been able to make a living doing what he loves best without ever having to get a real job. His secret? "If I didn’t work this hard for myself, I’d have to go work for somebody else." He closed his speech with a request from the students. “Go out in the world and f*** it up beautifully. Design clothes so hideous that they can't be worn ironically. Horrify us with new ideas. Outrage outdated critics. Use technology for transgression, not lazy social living. Make me nervous.”
"I want you to chase your reality."
Princeton University/Denise Applewhite, Office of Communications
Director Christopher Nolan gave Princeton grads some wise words at their convocation this year. Not only did he give them some words to live by, he also revealed the meaning behind the spinning top in "Inception". "The way the end of that film worked, Leonardo DiCaprio's character Cobb — he was off with his kids, he was in his own subjective reality," he says. "He didn't really care anymore, and that makes a statement: perhaps, all levels of reality are valid. The camera moves over the spinning top just before it appears to be wobbling, it was cut to black. But the question of whether that's a dream or whether it's real is the question I've been asked most about any of the films I've made. It matters to people because that's the point about reality. Reality matters."
"Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer."
Kevin Winter/Getty Images for AFI
Writer-producer Shonda Rhimes, the screenwriter of beloved TV dramas Grey's Anatomy, How To Get Away With Murder, and Scandal delivered an awesome commencement speech to the 2014 graduating class at Dartmouth College. Contrary to what many speakers have told graduates - to be dreamers first and foremost - Shonda warned them to stop dreaming and encouraged them to start doing. Here were her motivational words: "Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It's hard work that makes things happen. It's hard work that creates change. So, lesson one, I guess is: Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer. Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you're paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn't matter. You don't have to know. You just have to keep moving forward."
"Terms and conditions are the only things keeping us from The Purge, everybody."
The Office and Mindy Project star Mindy Kaling recently spoke at Harvard Law School's commencement ceremony, joking about everything from Barack Obama to Justin Bieber to the mother of all legal thrillers, Legally Blonde. One of her more memorable lines: "I know what you're probably thinking: 'Mindy Kaling? Why did they ask her? She's just a pretty Hollywood starlet. What does that quadruple threat know about the law?'" But she also had some serious and empowering words: "I look at all of you and see America's future: attourneys, corporate lawyers, public prosecutors, judges, politicians, maybe even the President of the United States. Those are all positions of such great influence. Understand that one day you will have the power to make a difference. Use it well."
"Don't Wait For Your Break, Make Your Break"
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From crack-smoking bartender on "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" to heartfelt funnyman Charlie Day's hilarious address to his alma mater Merrimack College made a viral sensation out of the oft overlooked, yet totally deserving actor. Opening up about turning down a job at a bank after graduation to pursue his dream of becoming an actor, Day eloquently offered anecdotes about his successes and failures after leaving school. The actor told the crowd about his personal adventure, moving to New York City and chose to make a show with two friends over taking a role in a network series. That series? "Life On A Stick" which only lasted one season. That show? "It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia" now entering its 10th season. "You will get to receive wisdom, life lessons, knowledge... from a man who has made a living pretending to eat cat food," the actor warns. But impending graduates take heed, Day stresses owning one>s failures as much as your successes saying, "Fail, pick yourself up again and fail again."RELATED: Memorable Celebrity Commencement Speeches
"I learned many, many lessons from my father, but not least of which is that you can fail at something you don't want..."
"...so you may as well take a chance doing what you love." Canadian-born comedian/actor Jim Carrey spoke to the class of 2014 of Iowa's Maharishi University of Management (a private university featuring Consciousness-Based education) on Saturday, May 24, sharing his accumulated wisdom with 285 students from 54 countries. Humour and sentiment were mixed together to make what some in attendance said was the best commencement talk ever. Never one to take the conventional approach, Carrey unveiled a large biographical painting to complement his words.
"A commitment to truth requires a commitment to social justice"
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"All of Me" singer John Legend delivered a solid commencement speech to the University of Pennsylvania's graduation ceremony on May 19, 2014. He is an Ivy League alumnus, having received an honorary Doctor of Music. He spoke about the power of love from your personal life to your work, to changing the world for a more humanitarian future.
"RELAX, dude! You just finished college at Harvard. You worked so hard. Trust me, you’re going to kill it."
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Comedy actor Andy Samberg might be the youngest commencement speaker to deliver an address at Harvard's Class Day in 2012. To summarize the speech he offered up his "3 simple tips on how to succeed in life." *Hint: they involve a box.
"Go find your joy. It's what you're going to remember in the end. It's not the worry, it's not the what-ifs. It's the joy that stays with you."
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Sandra Bullock made a special surprise appearance at the graduation ceremony of Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans, where she delivered a touching keynote to 200 graduating students. Bullock became the school's benefactor after it was devastated by Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Her donations have helped to fund a health clinic and scholarships for graduating seniors.
"Sometimes it's the journey that teaches you a lot about your destination."
Jason Merritt/Getty Images
Hip-hop artist Drake addressed his fellow seniors at Toronto's Jarvis Collegiate when he graduated from high school. He returned to earn his diploma after dropping out as a teenager to pursue his music and acting career.
"You are all here because you are smart. And you are brave. And if you add kindness and the ability to change a tire, you almost make up the perfect person."
Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The Leukemia & Lymphona Society
"Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your beers," began Amy Poehler when she delivered a delightful Class Day speech at Harvard in 2011. Her advice on facing the world ahead: "When you feel scared hold someone's hand and look into their eyes. When you feel brave, do the same thing." And on how to treat others: "Please don't forget to tip your waitresses."
"Fall down, make a mess, break something occasionally. And remember that the story is never over."
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Conan talk-show host Conan O'Brien gave a commencement speech to Harvard's graduating class of 2000. In his usual self-deprecating style of truth humour, Conan struck a balance between inspiring both humility and confidence, assuring those in attendance, "If you can laugh at yourself loud and hard every time you fall, people will think you're drunk."
"You don't have to be famous. You just have to make your mother and father proud of you."
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Actress Meryl Streep gave the commencement address to Barnard College's graduating class of 2010. 27 years ago she also gave a commencement speech at Vassar College. She told the class of 1983: "Don>t let your special character and values, the secret that you know and no one else does, the truth - don>t let that get swallowed up by the great chewing complacency."
"Take a moment right now and follow my Twitter feed."
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Satirist Stephen Colbert delivered an hysterical valedictory address to the University of Virginia's 2013 graduates. His more serious notes touched upon the passing of the torch from the older to the younger generation: "I believe we have given you a gift. A particular form of independence because you don't owe the previous generation anything. Thanks to us you owe it to the Chinese."
"Take fear head on."
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The Captain Phillips star Tom Hanks gave a charming keynote speech to Yale's class of 2011. He reminded the students that they would be forming the new American identity, he told them that their full-time job was now to 'stand on the fulcrum between fear and faith. Fear at your back, faith in front of you.' He asked them which way they would lean, encouraging them to move forward 'and tweet out a picture of the results."
"The world is more malleable than you think and it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape."
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Singer-songwriter and activist Bono of U2 gave the commencement address to the University of Pennsylvania's class of 2004. He spoke about how, being an Irishman, he was inspired by the American "idea that anything is possible," and encouraged students to embrace this.
"Be all of yourselves. Don’t just live. Be that other thing connected to death. Be life. Live all of your life. Understand it, see it, appreciate it. And have fun."
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Buffy the Vampire Slayer screenwriter Joss Whedon gave one of the most lauded of commencement speeches in his graduation address to Wesleyan University on May 26, 2013. Echoing a major theme in Buffy, he said, "Identity is something that you are constantly earning ...It is now more than ever about understanding yourself so you can become yourself."