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Commencement 2019

5/10/2019, 6 a.m.
It’s graduation season and the commencement ceremonies are starting, first with area colleges and universities and next, with local high ...

— Dr. Yvonne Thornton, Tuskegee University, 2003

“Cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or be disappointed in us. Cynics always say no ... for as long as you have the strength to, say yes.”

— Stephen Colbert, Knox College, 2006

“I am myself a storyteller, and therefore, an optimist — a firm believer in the ethical bend of the human heart; a believer in the mind’s appetite for truth and its disgust with fraud and selfishness. From my point of view, your life is already a miracle of chance waiting for you to shape its destiny. From my point of view, your life is already artful — waiting, just waiting, for you to make it art.”

— Toni Morrison, Rutgers University, 2011

“Your time is limited. So don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

— Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005

“Eat a good breakfast. It really pays off. Pay your bills on time. Recycle. Make your bed. Aim high. Say thank you to people and actually really mean it. Ask for help when you need it, and put your phone away at the dinner table. Just sit on it, really. And know that what you tweet and post and Instagram today might be asked about at a job interview tomorrow, or 20 years from tomorrow. Be nice to little kids, be nice to your elders, be nice to animals, and know that it’s better to be interested than interesting. Invest in a quality mattress. I’m telling you, your back will thank you later. And don’t cheap out on your shoes. And if you’re fighting with somebody you really love, for god’s sakes find your way back to them because life is short, even on our longest days. And another thing, another thing you already definitely know that definitely bears repeating, don’t ever confuse what is legal with what is moral because they are entirely different animals. You see, in a court of law, there are loopholes and technicalities and bargains to be struck, but in life, you’re either principled or you’re not. So do the right thing, especially when nobody’s looking. And while I’m at it, do not equate money and fame with accomplishment and character, because I can assure you based on the thousands of people I’ve interviewed, one does not automatically follow the other. ... If you’re willing to listen to, be guided by, that still small voice that is the GPS within yourself, to find out what makes you come alive, you will be more than OK. You will be happy, you will be successful and you will make a difference in the world.”

— Oprah Winfrey,

University of Southern California, 2018