BILL CLINTON, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Mich., April 30
I hope your goal will be a 21st-century American community that derives every benefit from technology while holding fast to our oldest values. I hope you will not take your eyes off of it. I hope you will embrace it and work for it. If you do, you will achieve it. And you will live in history’s most exciting, prosperous and humane era. That is what I wish for you.
BILL COSBY Fashion Institute of Technology, New York City, May 23
You’ll have dreams, and you’ll go to someone and you’ll say, “This is a great idea,” and that person will say, “No, it isn’t. Go back to your cube.” Now the question is: Who do you believe?
BILLIE JEAN KING, University of Massachusetts Amherst, May 21
The most important words that have helped me in life—when things have gone right, or when things have gone wrong—are “Accept responsibility.”…It’s everyone’s responsibility to lead, to honor and to fight for everyone’s basic rights, for equality. Regardless of our gender, our age, our race, our religion, our appearance, sexual orientation or our abilities. So dream, act and lead.
- OPRAH WINFREY, Salem College, Winston-Salem, N.C., May 20
- There is a sacred calling on your life, and the question is: Will you spend your life flittering and fluttering about or take the time and really heed that call and create your own path to your highest good?… You cannot let other people define your life for you. You are the author of your own life….Real power is when you are doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing, the best it can be done. Authentic power. There’s a surge, there’s a kind of energy field that says, “I’m in my groove, I’m in my groove.” And nobody has to tell you, “You go, girl,” because you know you’re already gone.
BILL MURRAY, Columbia University School of the Arts, New York City, May 17
I have a degree—from high school. But I am a [expletive deleted] millionaire….I just sort of got into acting to get out of the house….My mother was driving me nuts….And I stayed with it because I found that the more fun I had doing it, the better I did….If you have fun and don’t become envious, you can do this art thing; you can get art done….Then there’s a higher level, the people we read and listen to—and how do they do it? I don’t know. But I know that’s what I’m trying to do.
Secretary of State MADELEINE ALBRIGHT, The George Washington University, Washington, D.C., May 21
Each of us must choose; whether to live our lives narrowly, selfishly and complacently or to act with courage and faith. We are not governed by fate or mysterious forces of history. It is the sum of our choices that will determine the kind of America and the kind of world in which we will live.
TED TURNER (watching as estranged wife Jane Fonda accepts an honorary doctorate) Emerson College, Boston, May 15.
It’s all relative….I sit down and say, geez, I’ve only got $10 billion, but Bill Gates has $100 billion, I feel like I’m a complete failure in life. So billions won’t make you happy if you’re worried about someone who’s got more than you….So don’t let yourself get caught in a trap of measuring your success by how much material success you have.
PAUL REISER, Binghamton University, State University of New York, May 21
It turns out most of the conclusions that I’ve come to in life have equally valid contradictions….I think it’s true you need to make a plan, set a goal and stick to it, but I would also advise, Don’t keep your eyes so fixed on your goal that you miss what sneaks up to surprise you, because magic will come from unexpected places.
BILLY JOEL, Southampton College of Long Island University, Southampton, N.Y., May 21
Good luck and good timing are probably just as important as a good education, although owning some nice waterfront property…didn’t hurt….But since I sold my house to Jerry [Seinfeld], it’s going to be more expensive than ever to live out here….I am only certain of one thing in my life. I knew what I loved to do, and I did what I loved to do. And at this point in my life, I’m still loving what I do. I never did it to make a lot of money. I did it to make a living. And in doing so, I made a life.
JOHN MELLENCAMP, Indiana University-Bloomington, May 6
If someone was to ask me casually about life, I would simply say, “Play it like you feel it, baby, and live it up, kid. You’ll be all right.” I’ve never given up, and I’ve never given in. I’ve lost many times and said on the way down, “You’re going to have to kill me.”…I always enjoyed the fight more than the victory….Try to enjoy your life ‘cuz this is it, baby.
DREW CAREY, Cleveland State University, May 7
I’ve always wanted to walk up to women and go, “Hey, baby, trust me; I’m a doctor.” Now I can….You know, I actually could have a degree. I’m short only three—what do you call those? Years….The serious advice I can give you is….learn how to set goals for yourself….People who make goals for themselves make more money and have more success than people who don’t….And don’t forget to tip your professors on the way out.