The drab crawl of a graduation ceremony often extinguishes the thrill of completing the requirements to leave high school or college. School administrators and the handpicked speaker for the commencement address prattle on about “the future” and how wonderful the last four years were, failing to mention anything that might actually be of use to this group of kids who really just want to pocket their cash gifts and hit the party afterwords.
The following ten quotes are a mixture of comments on education and its commencement. Not always funny in the conventional sense, but these quotes should be admired, if nothing more than most of these people talking didn’t receive a formal education.
A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that “individuality” is the key to success.
Robert Orben – magician and comedy writer. He has written several books and even worked as President Gerald R. Ford’s speech writer.
At commencement you wear your square-shaped mortarboards. My hope is that from time to time you will let your minds be bold, and wear sombreros.
Paul Freund – an authority on constitutional law and the Supreme Court. Freund taught at Harvard Law School for 37 years, shaping many students’ views on the U.S. constitution.
Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.
Arnold H. Glasow – American humorist.
I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
Mark Twain – famed American author and noted social critic. His work stretched far beyond his literary success. His many thoughts on education, and educators, are well documented.
Education is when you read the fine print. Experience is what you get if you don’t.
Pete Seeger – folk singer and political activist. Pioneer of protest music in American culture.
The advantage of a classical education is that it enables you to despise the wealth that it prevents you from achieving.
Attributed to Russell Green – whoever that may be.
Education is what remains when one has forgotten everything he learned in school.
Albert Einstein – Nobel Prize winning physicist. Often quoted and arguably the most recognized scientist ever.
I will try to follow the advice that a university president once gave a prospective commencement speaker. “Think of yourself as the body at an Irish wake” he said. “They need you in order to have the party, but no one expects you to say very much.”
Anthony Lake – credited as an American diplomat, political figure and academic. Occupied many posts in the Democratic Party, most recently as the foreign policy adviser for Barack Obama’s ’08 campaign.
To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you too may one day be president of the United States.
George W. Bush – 43rd president of the United States and noted C-student.
Colleges are like old-age homes, except for the fact that more people die in colleges.
Bob Dylan – cranky folk singer. Sports a dodgy mustache in his later years.