Commencement Speeches

Graduation
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By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - It’s graduation time! But not all commencement speakers who receive honorary degrees have inspiring messages.

J.K.Rowling, creator of Harry Potter, mentioned the weeks of fear and nausea she endured at the thought of giving an address at Harvard.

In 2004 at William and Mary, Jon Stewart, host of “The Daily Show” on TV, told the students how gratifying it was to get the degree without putting in any effort while they were sinking in debt and sacrificing so much for a piece of parchment that has been devalued.

Conan O’Brien at Dartmouth in 2011 shared his belief that life is unfair. “If it does rain the powerful rich people on stage get the tent.”

This year, The University of Pennsylvania chose Geoffrey Canada, who spoke about his work in changing the lives of kids in the Harlem Children’s Zone, receiving the longest ovation ever at Penn from the audience.

See Canada on youtube.com/user/univPennsylvania and read about commencement addresses in The Washington Post, they’re fun, to a big degree.

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