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Commencement Speech Example

Updated on April 17, 2016

Do not waste the life that God gave you

Good morning faculty, families and class of Two Thousand Sixteen. I am honored to be here speaking to all of you today. I want to begin with a quote from Winston Churchill from a commencement speech he gave to his prep school in 1941,

Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy” (Churchill, 1941)

I know that quote is timeless because here I repeated the quote in two thousand twelve, and why you may ask…because it is very relevant to my story.

Many years ago when I began this journey I had a friend or possible a foe (depending on how you look at it), tell me that I would never be able to accomplish a college degree. Not as a single mother, working full time, with four children including a newborn to care for.

Although my journey has taken longer than anticipated I proved that friend wrong, and maybe many other’s that were not as candid. I also proved something to myself with hard work, determination, and grit anything can be accomplished.

Because life throws so many obstacles and distractions in our paths on a daily basis, it is essential to have supportive and knowledgeable people to go to when needed. The advisers helped guide and encourage me to finish what I started, and fulfill the dreams I had for myself.

I cannot begin to properly thank not only my school family that cheered me on when I passed math class, my church family who always had kind words to say to me to help keep me strong when the storm rose up and made me weary, and my family-family who accepted the long hours in front of the computer when I had to complete research, write a paper, or read the endless text books that helped me get here today.

I want to be a testament to what can be accomplished when one person believes they can achieve what others do not think is possible.

Class of two thousand twelve, do not let people tell you who you are and what you can do, do not let people decide what you are capable of.

In 2005 during a commencement speech, Steve Jobs said, “figure out what you love and do it, do not settle” (Jobs, 2005). I encourage my fellow class mates to take that challenge, do what you love and do not settle.

The education that we received during our years at (insert college name) have prepared each of us to be diligent, creative, innovative, and successful.

I want to leave you with a quote from former ESPN sportscaster, Brian Kenny, “There is no there. That is elusive, “there” with the job, the beach house, the dream, it’s not out there. There is here. It’s in you…right now” (Kenny, 2007)

Don’t waste the life that God gave you, we are his masterpiece, and we can be anything we aspire to be.

Thank you.



Steve Jobs' 2005 Stanford Commencement Address

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