The Only Commencement Speech You Need to Hear (Really)

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Watch the Most Incredible Commencement Speech of 2015

For the past 30 days or so on college campuses across America, Very Important People of all stripes have been saying lots of wise and inspiring things to freshly minted graduates. This year’s roster of commencement speakers includes tech chief executive officers, journalists, generals, filmmakers, and plenty of actors and politicians. Here are a few of their choicest pearls of wit and wisdom.

Robert De Niro, actor 

“Yeah, you’re f-----. The good news is that that’s not a bad place to start. Now that you’ve made your choice, your path is clear. Not easy, but clear.”

Tom Brokaw, journalist

“Do not be afraid to be disruptive.”

Ken Burns, filmmaker

“It is your difficult but great and challenging responsibility to help change things and set us right again. Let me apologize in advance on behalf of all of these people up here: We broke it, but you’ve got to fix it.”

Maya Rudolph, actor

“It really is a true honor to be with all of you … as you embark on this exciting and challenging journey of being sober during the day.”

Tim Cook, CEO, Apple

“History rarely yields to one person. But think—and never forget—what happens when it does. That can be you. That should be you. That must be you.”

Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations

“Make sure you know something about something.”

Jon Bon Jovi, musician

“It’s OK to map out your future, but do it in pencil.”

Meredith Vieira, journalist

“Life isn’t all that complicated. Things are what they are. Don’t read into everything, just do your best, and try to do no harm.”

Stephen Colbert, comedian

“No one has any idea what is going to happen. Not even Elon Musk.”

Kanye West, musician

“'I’m sorry’ is something that you can use a lot. It gives you the opportunity to give your opinion, apologize for it, and then give your opinion again.”

Salman Rushdie, author

“Do not make jackasses of yourselves.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist

“If someone invites you to go to Mars, just remember how beautiful earth is before you do that.”

Ed Helms, actor

“They say with great power comes great responsibility. Not true. Responsibility is entirely optional. You can coast if you want to. But don’t you dare coast.”

Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google

“Ask a lot of big questions, and go out and try to find the answers. Don’t accept traditional or conventional wisdom.”

— By Allan Jeffries

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