Two years ago, USA TODAY published a story with the headline �10 stellar commencement addresses,� by reporter Mary Beth Marklein. She writes, �Of the 700 or so commencement speeches Cristina Negrut estimates she has found on the Internet, only about one in 20 �is really inspiring,� she says.
Those are the select few that make it onto a website she created three years ago called Graduationwisdom.com. Combing the web for �little treasures� is a hobby for Negrut, 39; by day, she works in product development for a medical equipment company in Madison, WI.
We just experienced USD�s commencement last weekend, and on Sunday, Vermillion High School�s seniors will receive their diplomas. It�s the season, in other words, when these �little treasures,� as Negrut calls them, are shared from podiums by speakers at thousands of commencement exercises.
Here are excerpts from Negrut�s top 10 speeches:
1. Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computers, Stanford, 2005.
�Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.�
2. Jerry Zucker, film director/producer, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2003.
�It doesn�t matter that your dream came true if you spent your whole life sleeping.�
3. Marc S. Lewis, clinical psychology professor, University of Texas Austin, 2000.
�There are times when you are going to do well, and times when you�re going to fail. But neither the doing well, nor the failure is the measure of success. The measure of success is what you think about what you�ve done. Let me put that another way: The way to be happy is to like yourself and the way to like yourself is to do only things that make you proud.�
4. David Foster Wallace, novelist, Kenyon College, 2005.
�There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says �Morning, boys. How�s the water?� And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes �What the hell is water?��
5. John Walsh, author and art historian, Wheaton College, 2000.
�Do one thing at a time. Give each experience all your attention. Try to resist being distracted by other sights and sounds, other thoughts and tasks, and when it is, guide your mind back to what you�re doing.�
6. Michael Uslan, film producer, Indiana University, 2006.
�You must have a high threshold for frustration. Take it from the guy who was turned down by every studio in Hollywood. You must knock on doors until your knuckles bleed. Doors will slam in your face. You must pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and knock again. It�s the only way to achieve your goals in life.�
7. David L. Calhoun, businessman, Virgina Tech, 2005.
�The lust for learning is age-independent.�
8. Earl Bakken, businessman, University of Hawaii, 2004.
�By all reckoning, the bumblebee is aerodynamically unsound and shouldn�t be able to fly. Yet, the little bee gets those wings going like a turbo-jet and flies to every plant its chubby little body can land on to collect all the nectar it can hold. Bumblebees are the most persistent creatures. They don�t know they can�t fly, so they just keep buzzing around.�
9. Bradley Whitford, actor, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2006.
�We all go through life bristling at our external limitations, but the most difficult chains to break are inside us.�
10. Woody Hayes, football coach, Ohio State University, 1986.
�You�ll find out that nothing that comes easy is worth a dime. As a matter of fact, I never saw a football player make a tackle with a smile on his face. Never.�