Graduation Speeches

Conan O'Brien, Stuyvesant High

Be warned, everyone (at college) has a weird roommate. If you don't have a weird roommate, then you're the weird roommate.


Conan O'Brien, Harvard

I'd like to thank the Class Marshals for inviting me here today. The last time I was invited to Harvard it cost me $110,000, so you'll forgive me if I'm a bit suspicious.


Jon Stewart, William and Mary College

In 1981 I lost my virginity, only to gain it back again on appeal in 1983. You could say that my one saving grace was academics where I excelled, but I did not.

I am honored to be here and to receive this honorary doctorate. When I think back to the people that have been in this position before me - from Benjamin Franklin to Queen Noor of Jordan - I can't help but wonder... what has happened to this place?

I'm sure my fellow doctoral graduates - who have spent so long toiling in academia, sinking into debt, sacrificing God knows how many years for what, in truth, is a piece of parchment that in truth has been so devalued by our instant gratification culture as to have been rendered meaningless - will join in congratulating me. Thank you.


David Sedaris, Princeton, 2007

There were those who left Princeton and soared like arrows into the bosoms of power and finance, but I was not one of them. My path was a winding one, with plenty of obstacles along the way. When school was finished, I went back home, an Ivy League graduate with four years' worth of dirty laundry and his whole life ahead of him. "What are you going to do now?" my parents asked.

And I said, "Well, I was thinking of washing some of these underpants."


Ali G, Harvard, 2004

For those of u studying history, u probably learnt a lot about de Presidents. Like who was Jefferson, and what did Lincoln give America - apart from de town car.

Some of u iz de best legal students in de country. U would know wivout even thinking, how to get someone off a charge of possession. And if any of u do, then can me remind u - Room 204 at the Best Western.

Let's talk about de finances... It costs $38,000 a year to go to Harvard. All you fathers out dere - wiv dat money u could have bought top of de range Lexus but instead u chose to invest in ya kids future. IZ U MENTAL?

Let's talk bout de future - your future. A lot of you iz probably worried bout employment. Unfortunately most of u WILL end up gettin jobs - especially now u iz got de burden of a degree.


Will Ferrell, Harvard Commencement 2003

As I stare out into this vast sea of shining faces, I see the best and brightest. Some of you will be captains of industry and business. Others of you will go on to great careers in medicine, law and public service. Four of you - and I'm not at liberty to say which four - will go on to magnificent careers in the porno industry. I'm not trying to be funny. That's just a statistical fact.


Tom Brokaw, Emory University

"Real life is not college. Real life is not high school. Here is a secret no one has told you: Real life is junior high."


Al Franken, Class Day Address 2002, Harvard

It is an honor to speak here today to you, the graduating class of 2002, and to congratulate all of you - for getting into Harvard in the first place. Because let's face it, once you get in here, as long as you don't kill someone or embezzle $100,000 from your student organization, you're going to graduate.

And to those of you who are graduating with honors - congratulations on doing some of the reading and on going to many of your classes, and on handing in most of your papers on time.

To those of you who did not graduate with honors, congratulations on your hockey season.

As Read on Car Talk ]