This Year’s 8 Best Celebrity Commencement Speeches

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This Year s 8 Best Celebrity Commencement Speeches Sandra Bullock commencement speech May 2014 jpg

It’s graduation season! Can you believe it? I guess you can believe it if you’re a student or if you know a student. But if you’re out of touch with that whole scene, it’s just a nice reminder that time is fleeting and you should probably take down your Christmas lights. On the bright side, there are plenty of celebrity commencement speeches to enjoy, whether you’re graduating or not.

This year there was a particularly good crop of commencement speakers, and their speeches ran the gamut from heartfelt to hilarious to musical. If you can deal with feeling jealous of a bunch of high school and college students for having celebrities wish them luck on their graduation day, go forth and watch these eight examples. And follow your dreams, because that’s like really important.

1. Sandra Bullock

Good ol’ Sandy gave a speech earlier this month at Warren Easton Charter High School in New Orleans. She donated to the school after Hurricane Katrina, so it holds a special place in her heart. She talked about everything from how to hug people to not picking your nose in public. And that’s why we love her.

2. Charlie Day

The star of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia showed he can be more than just that funny guy on TV by sharing wise words to the graduates of Merrimack College in Massachusetts, where he graduated in 1998. He shared anecdotes about his jobs after college and his experience pursuing a career in acting, emphasizing, “I don’t think you should just do what makes you happy. Do what makes you great.”

3. Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey spoke to graduating students at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa this past weekend, and he shared a story about his father, who could have been a great comedian but chose the safe route as an accountant instead, and why taking risks is worth it.

4. Mindy Kaling

This one was actually a speech for Harvard Law’s Class Day, but it’s the same idea. Her speech was full of jokes about everything from crime shows to shampoo commercials to Justin Bieber. But she also talked about more serious things like her family’s experience as immigrants.

5. Diddy

When he does more serious things like this, he’s known as Sean Combs, but we know him better as Diddy. And Puff Daddy. And P. Diddy. He talked to Howard University — which he attended for two years — about, among other things, his experience running the New York Marathon after only eight weeks of training.

6. Billy Nye

Imagine how cool it would be to have Bill Nye the Science Guy talk to you at graduation. That happened for the graduates of the University of Massachusetts Lowell. He made jokes, he got serious about environmentalism, and he reminded everyone: “Everyone you will ever meet knows something that you don’t… Respect their knowledge and learn from them.”

7. Ed Helms

Remember how Ed Helms played Cornell alum Andy Bernard on The Office? Well this month he spoke to graduates of that very school. Is that perfect or is that perfect? (It’s perfect.) Still, he made it clear that he is not, in fact, Andy Bernard, and talked to students about why they should be “fools.”

8. John Legend

John Legend spoke the the Univeristy of Pennsylvania, which he attended, and since he’s a singer, he couldn’t exactly give the speech without a musical bit, could he? Obviously not. So he sang a funny version of his song “All of Me” poking fun at himself. He also shared personal stories and reminded students: “Fear is the opposite of love.”