The Ultimate Graduation Speech

Not planning to attend any college commencement ceremonies this year? Get your annual dose of canned wisdom right here, with our single, decisive, and completely inconsistent graduation mash-up.

Annie Lennox |Singer-songwriter | May 11, 2013 | Berklee College of Music
Drew Houston | Dropbox CEO | June 7, 2013 | MIT
Oprah Winfrey | Media Mogul | May 30, 2013 | Harvard University
Jim Yong Kim | World Bank President | May 3, 2013 | Northeastern University
Robert Kraft | Business Magnate | May 19, 2013 | Suffolk University
Enda Kenny | Irish Prime Minister | May 2013, 2013 | Boston College
Max Mutchnick | Television Producer | May 12, 2013 | Emerson College
Wendy Kopp | Teach For America Founder | May 19, 2013 | Boston University

I’d like to congratulate everyone here: the graduates and professors…the graduates for having come this far so far—and the professors for guiding you all through. _ It’s an honor to be here with you today. _ Actually, I was so honored I wanted to do something really special for you. I wanted to be able to have you look under your seats and there would be free master and doctor degrees, but I see you got that covered already.

A recent study by a group of psychologists in the journal Science found that people are extremely poor at predicting their futures. _ Wherever you think you’re heading right now might turn out to take a completely different route down a completely different path. _ The key to life is to develop and internal moral, emotional GPS that can tell you which way to go. _ GPSs are great devices. Just punch in the address and no matter where you turn, it creates a route to get you where you want to go. _ One journey completed, another directly ahead.

At this time of the year, I annually welcome our college recruits or our rookie class to the New England Patriots. And I talk to them about the importance of their Patriot brand and how I expect them to act both on and off the field. _ Never forget about your special sauce. Stop being a brand. Ketchup is a brand. Preparation H is a brand. Not everyone has your special ingredient.

In no particular order, the following are the other very important things I want you to know: Red Vines are better than Twizzlers. _ Find new territory. Break new ground. _ Set bold goals. _ Don’t put your desire to change the world on hold. _ Be thankful. _ Perform random acts of kindness. I’ll just tell you, when I go into Dunkin’ Donuts most mornings, I get a great thrill out of buying the people behind me coffee or doughnuts or whatever they want. It makes me feel better. _ You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with…surrounding yourself with inspiring people is now just as important as being talented or working hard. _ Be your own person. _ Vote. Please vote.

There are 30,000 days in your life…you guys are 8,000 days down. _ Start now and go forth in constant pursuit of learning and impact.

Good luck, and thank you for listening. Was that okay?

After the (Student) Rapture

This is what the city will look like when the area’s 140,000 undergrads bolt in May. —By Stacy Shepherd and Samantha Pickette


 60% less coffee sold at Pavement Coffeehouse on Comm. Ave.

31,978 fewer Boston Public Library visitors from July through September.

Emergency Room

25% fewer alcohol-poisoning cases in Boston’s emergency rooms during May, June, July and August.


35% fewer condoms sold at Condomworld on Newbury Street.


33% drop in burrito sales at the Boloco near Northeastern.

8,241 fewer people riding the T each day.


When the students return in September, the weekly weight of garbage collected in Allston/Brighton will go up 263%.