Commencement 2011: what 10 eminent speakers told graduates

Here are the Monitor's hand-picked highlights from the 2011 commencement season.

2. Denzel Washington, actor, University of Pennsylvania

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    Actor Denzel Washington makes remarks during the University of Pennsylvania's 255th Commencement May 16 in Philadelphia. Washington, whose son Malcolm attends the Ivy League school, received an honorary degree at the ceremony.
    Matt Rourke/AP Photo
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I've found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Nelson Mandela said: "There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that's less than the one you're capable of living." I'm sure in your experiences – in school, in applying to college, in picking your major, in deciding what you want to do with [your] life – people have told you to make sure that you have something to "fall back on." But I never understood that concept. If I'm going to fall, I don't want to fall back on anything – except my faith. I want to fall forward. I figure at least this way I'll see what I'm going to hit. Fall forward.

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