7 Fun & Inspiring Graduation Speeches On YouTube

By Megan O'Neill Comment

It’s that time of year once again when students don caps and gowns to signify the closing of one door and the opening of another.  Pomp and circumstance is in the air and resumes are being sent out in bulk.  That’s right—it’s graduation time.  And what better way to celebrate than with a collection of graduation speech videos from YouTube?  We’ve put together a list of 7 awesome videos, capable of inspiring you whether you are a current grad, or walked across a stage to get your diploma long ago.  Congratulations class of 2010—Get ready for the ride of your lives!

CuteWinFail: Preschool Graduation

Graduation is not only a great time to think about the future, but also to reflect on the past.  When you were little, do you remember what you wanted to be when you grew up?  Is it the same or different from what you are doing now?  Do you think the kids in this video will achieve their childhood dreams?

Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen! – Baz Luhrmann

Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen is not only a great song, but also offers up some of the best advice anyone can give or get.  The song was created by Baz Luhrmann, based on an essay by Mary Schmich called ‘Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young.’  You’ve probably heard it before, but now you can watch it from older, and perhaps more mature, eyes and see if you can get something new out of it.

Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech 2005

Steve Jobs never graduated from college, but his commencement speech at the 2005 Stanford University graduation is one of the most inspirational, and by far the most-viewed, commencement speeches on YouTube.  Though Jobs never graduated, he talks about the affect that the college courses he dropped in on had on his life, on Apple and beyond, he talks about love, loss, life and death.

Greatest Valedictorian Speech Ever!

This video has gone viral over the past few days.  It features a high school valedictorian speech, given by Alaine Caudle at Doniphan West High School.  Alaine begins the speech with, “A wise man once told me nobody ever remembers the Valedictorian speech.”  She will prove this wise man wrong.  She raps a speech that will be remembered for years to come.  I think that the fact that she did this was awesome.  It was probably pretty scary, not to mention a little embarrassing.  But she went for it.  We should all be so inspired to “go for it” in life, so that we will be remembered for what we’ve done.

Randy Pausch Inspired Graduates

Just a few months before he died of complications from Pancreatic Cancer, Randy Pausch took the opportunity to speak at the Carnegie Mellon commencement.  Check out his commencement speech, plus his famous Last Lecture: Achieving Your Childhood Dreams, which he gave shortly after his cancer diagnosis, below.  If you’ve never seen the Last Lecture before it is a must!

Lisa Kudrow Vassar Commencement Address 2010

Something that you may not know about Lisa Kudrow is that she only started acting when she was in her early 20s.  Before that she was on the path to becoming a biologist, studying biology at Vassar and preparing research papers.  In this speech she talks about how her path changed and all the ups and downs she went to on her path to success.  Failures are only road bumps on your ultimate path to success, and nobody’s story expresses this better than Lisa Kudrow’s.

Paralyzed student walks at graduation

Okay, you got me.  This last video isn’t a speech.  But it is a graduation video and if it’s not inspirational, I don’t know what is!  The video features a UC Berkeley student, Austin Whitney, who was paralyzed in an auto accident four years ago, walking across the stage at his commencement ceremony.  He did so with the aid of an exoskeleton built specially for Austin by a Berkeley professor and his mechanical engineering students.

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.