I would wager that either the joy of being done with your studies of the remnants of a hangover prevented you from remembering anything from your college commencement address. I am spending this weekend at a graduation for a family friend at Cornell University, in Ithaca New York, and just heard a convocation from actor James Franco, the Spiderman anti-hero, who has applied considerable effort to academic studies since initially dropping out of UCLA. Observing the controlled chaos of exhaustion from finals, preparing to move out of your dorm for a final time, saying good bye to friends and ensuring the family and friends attending are taken care of properly is enough to cause a minor heart attack. The highlight of your graduation was the key words of wisdom that were spoken from a specially selected person that could pass on words of wisdom to propel you into the future, but do you remember them? We have all seen Steve Jobs 2005 Stanford commencement speech. YouTube offer commencements by Neil Gaiman and Admiral William H. McRaven each offered amazing speeches worthy of your time. If words have meaning then these moments are worth capturing and gleaning at least one takeaway to carry with you. Building a monument and recognizing this rite of passage is important as a mile marker in your life and for those around you. This commentary has been focused on the college grad, however it applies to anyone that has heard a commencement. This topic has grown in importance to me as I have sat in the audience in recent years. Mr. Franco ended with the encouragement to be generous by finding ways to give back to the community. If you don't remember your commencement speech, you can borrow from the 2016 Cornell convocation by the Spiderman anti-hero and embrace the encouragement to live generously.
Who have been your commencement speakers? Why were they chosen? What could you learn today from revisiting their statements? Have you applied any lessons learned? Were you impressed with anything that was said? What would you share at a commencement if asked?