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The caps are off! Commencement season is underway and thousands of new graduates have embarked on a new chapter of their lives, with the wise words of Stephen Colbert, Matthew McConaughey and more to guide them.
Below, take a look at some of the highlights from this year’s celebrity commencement speeches.
1. Matthew McConaughey’s guide to life
McConaughey surprised the audiences at the University of Houston’s commencement ceremony when he stepped onstage to a deliver a 45-minute long speech to its graduating class. The Oscar-winning actor, who was offered $135,000 to speak (a sum he plans to donate to the Just Keep Livin‘ Foundation), presented students with thirteen truths about life.
Among the highlights: “Do not fall into the entitlement trap of feeling like a victim,” he said. “You are not. Get over it and get on with it. Yes, most things are more rewarding when you break a sweat to get them.”
2. Maya Rudolph impersonates Oprah Winfrey and Beyonce
The Saturday Night Live alum filled New Orleans’ Mercedes-Benz Superdome with laughter by peppering her speech at Tulane University with multiple punch lines, but students were most excited to see Rudolph put on her well known impersonations of Oprah and Beyonce at the podium. The comedian ended her speech with a comical rendition of the national anthem, in which she infused lyrics to Beyonce’s popular hits “Single Ladies” and “Drunk in Love.”
3. Ed Helms slams Rolling Stone for rape controversy
Helms didn’t hesitate to address Rolling Stone‘s rape story controversy during his speech to the graduating class of the University of Virginia. “It has been said that a rolling stone gathers no moss,” he told the audience. “I would add that sometimes a rolling stone also gathers no verifiable facts or even the tiniest morsels of journalistic integrity.”
4. Stephen Colbert’s new chapter
While speaking at Wake Forest University, Colbert likened the graduating students’ impending life transitions to his own, as he prepares to succeed David Letterman as the host of The Late Show.
“I just spent many years learning how to do one thing really well,” Colbert said. “I got so comfortable with that place, that role, those responsibilities that it came to define how I saw myself. But now that part of my life is over. It’s time to say goodbye to the person we’ve become, we’ve worked so hard to perfect, and to make some crucial decisions in becoming who we’re going to be.”
5. Tim Cook remembers Steve Jobs
Apple CEO Tim Cook inspired students at George Washington University to make a difference in world, but not without telling them how he had been pushed to do the same.
During his speech, Cook reflected on Steve Jobs’ impact on his life and how a simple job offer changed his life. “I always figured that work was work. Values had their place, and yes, there were things I wanted to change about the world, but I thought I had to do that in my own time — not in the office. Steve didn’t see it that way,” he said. “He was an idealist, and in that way, he reminded me of how I felt as a teenager.”
“In that first meeting,” Cook said, “he convinced me that if we worked hard and made great products, we, too, could help change the world. And to my surprise, I was hooked. I took the job and changed my life. It’s been 17 years, and I have never once looked back.”
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