Sunday, May 29, 2016

Commencement 2016: A Brief Survey

  • Barack Obama (U.S. President) at Rutgers University: “Gear yourself for the long haul. Whatever path you choose—business, nonprofits, government, education, health care, the arts—whatever it is, you're going to have some setbacks. You will deal occasionally with foolish people. You will be frustrated. You’ll have a boss that's not great. You won’t always get everything you want—at least not as fast as you want it.  So you have to stick with it. You have to be persistent. And success, however small, however incomplete, success is still success.  I always tell my daughters, you know, better is good.  It may not be perfect, it may not be great, but it's good. That's how progress happens—in societies and in our own lives."
  • Steven Spielberg (Filmmaker) at Harvard University: “Your intuition is different from your conscience. They work in tandem, but here’s the distinction: Your conscience shouts, ‘here’s what you should do,’ while your intuition whispers, ‘here’s what you could do.’ Listen to that voice that tells you what you could do. Nothing will define your character more than that.” 
  • Sheryl Sandberg (Chief Operating Officer - Facebook) at University of California – Berkeley: “Build resilience in yourselves. When tragedy or disappointment strike, know that you have the ability to get through absolutely anything. I promise you do. As the saying goes, we are more vulnerable than we ever thought, but we are stronger than we ever imagined.”
  • Jeff Immelt (CEO General Electric) at NYU Stern Business School: “You are entering a volatile global economy, the most uncertain I have ever seen. This is a world that needs better leaders, with new skill sets. The playbook from the past won’t cut it today. My advice for you as you enter this world is to be flexible, be bold, and don’t fear criticism."
  • Spike Lee (Filmmaker) at Johns Hopkins University: “After you leave here today, it’s gonna be real life, and real life is no joke. It’s real out here for the other 99 percent, for sure. Now it’s up to you, this new generation, to make it fairer, a just world. And it’s up to the graduating classes of 2016 to make it a better world for the 99 percent, who are daily being hornswoggled, hoodwinked, duped, rebuked, and scorned, double-crossed, incarcerated, profiled, starved, mis-educated, used and abused, and even shot down on our streets.”

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