The most inspiring words of advice for the Class of 2017

Alyssa Pry
Personal Finance Reporter

Congratulations to the Class of 2017! As graduates toss their caps, pack their dorms, and prepare to head into the real world, famous figures from media, politics and business are offering their words of advice in commencement addresses across the country.

Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook Founder, CEO 
Harvard University Commencement Address, May 25, 2017
“The challenge of our generation is to create a world where everyone has a sense of purpose. It’s not enough to have that purpose yourself. You also have to create a sense of purpose for others.”

Will Ferrell: Actor 
University of Southern California, May 12, 2017 
“You’re never not afraid. I’m still afraid. But my fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of what if. What if I never tried at all? …For many of you who maybe don’t have it all figured out, it’s okay. That’s the same chair that I sat in. Enjoy the process of your search without succumbing to the pressure of the result. Trust your gut, keep throwing darts at the dartboard.”

Bill Clinton, Former President of the United States 
Hobart and William Smith Colleges, May 14, 2017 
“Ask yourselves… Am I a better version of who I was four years ago or have I changed in some fundamental way? And what difference will it make to anyone besides me? I recommend you take just a little time to think about those things today.”

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO, Author
Virginia Tech, May 12, 2017
“We each have our own story but we can write new ones together–and that means seeing the values in each other’s points of view. Anyone here a little bit anxious about your future? Not sure where the future is taking you? Sometimes me too. And you know what helps you combat that fear? A very big idea captured in a very tiny word: hope.”

Howard Schultz, Starbucks Executive Chairman, Former CEO 
University of Arizona, May 8, 2017 
“Summon your compassion, your curiosity, your empathy towards others and your commitment to service. Give more than you receive and I promise you, it will come back to you in ways you can’t possibly imagine.”

Nick Offerman, Actor 
University of Illinois, May 13, 2017
“There are a lot of safe choices that you can make from here on out, and that’s fine, perhaps you’ll be complacent at best, but there are scarier, harder choices that once faced down might yield you more substantial happiness and therefore, far greater success. …I can tell you with great confidence that the easy way is very seldom the right way.”

Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul, Actor 
Smith College, May 21, 2017 
“You’re nothing if you’re not the truth. I’ve made a living, I’ve made a life – I’ve made a fortune, really – all good! – from being true to myself. If I can leave you with any message today: The biggest reward is not financial benefits, though it’s really good, you can get a lot of great shoes! Those of you who have a lot of shoes know having a closet full of shoes doesn’t fill up your life. Living a life of substance can. Substance through your service.”

Joe Biden, Former Vice President of the US 
Colby College, May 21, 2017 
“Each of you has a responsibility to treat people with dignity. And all of us have to do better when it comes to building the bonds of empathy. …Class of 2017, no graduating class gets to choose the world into which they graduate into. But now it’s your job to put your hands on the wheel and bend that arc of history closer to where we want to be as a nation.”

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