Advice to college graduates from Obama, McCain, and Souter
It's the time of year for advice and inspiration for college graduates. Former Justice David Souter, who rarely makes public speeches, is among those offering words of wisdom this year.
It's the time of year for advice, inspiration, calls to service, and more than a few clichés. At colleges and universities across America, politicians, actors, writers, activists, and scholars have drawn from their experiences as they speak to college graduates. Here are a few of their words of wisdom.Skip to next paragraph
The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
You remind me of something President Wilson once said. He said, "Sometimes people call me an idealist. Well, that's the way I know I'm an American."
Even so, you've probably also run up against people who love your idealism, but warn you to lower your sights, to scale back your ambitions a bit, to settle for something less.
And you know their hearts may be in the right place. They may be worried that you're in for a letdown once you realize that it can take years and even decades for your best efforts to bear fruit. See, we live in a culture, after all, that tells us that our lives should be easy; that we can have everything we want without a whole lot of effort.
But the truth is – and you know this – creating anything meaningful takes time.
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
When a writer finds the voice, the words flow freely, the sentences become paragraphs and pages and chapters, and the story is told, the writer is heard, and the reader is rewarded.
In this respect, writing is a lot like life itself. In life, a voice is much more than the sound we make when we talk. Infants and preschoolers have voices and can make a lot of noise, but a voice is more than sound.
The voice of change, the voice of compassion, the voice of the future, the voice of his generation, the voice of her people. We hear this all the time. Voices, not words….
To be heard, you must find a voice. For your ideas to be accepted, for your arguments to be believed, for your work to be admired, you must find a voice.
US senator, Arizona
Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware
I have faith that you understand that assaults on the dignity of others are assaults on the dignity of all humanity. You will not look upon tyranny and injustice in faraway places as the inevitable tragedy of mankind's fallen nature. You will see them as a call to action – a summons to devote your time and talents to a just cause that is greater than yourself, the cause of human rights and dignity. Make this your legacy, and 20 years from now, maybe longer, you will be able to know that you made history and made our country and world better. Not perfect, but better.
CEO, JPMorgan Chase
Syracuse University in New York