The Best Advice Celebrities Gave at College Graduations This Year

Raise a glass for the college grads.

Graduation season is in full swing, and with it comes last-minute bar crawls, uncomfortable dinners with family, and seemingly endless commencement events. However, for a few lucky colleges, those monotonous three-hour ceremonies were saved by badass graduation speakers. Everyone from Stephen Colbert to First Lady Michelle Obama imparted wisdom on the class of 2015. Who needs Vitamin C’s “Graduation Song (Friends Forever)” song when you have a former president speaking at your commencement? Check out the 10 best nuggets of advice students received this season.

  • 1 Stephen Colbert
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    “So I hope you find the courage to decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong. And then, please expect as much of the world around you. Try to make the world good according to your standards.”- Wake Forest University [/item
  • 2 Meredith Vieira
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    “So don’t ever be a conformist for convenience sake…Be the left shark.”- Boston University (Vieira is referring to the dancing shark who stole the show at Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime performance this year.) [/item
  • 3 Mark Ruffalo
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    “I’m here to tell you that ’activist’ is not a dirty word…I’m asking each of you at some point or another to act up. Be misbehaved. Buck the system. Fight for what you believe in. This is the time to do it; you’re the ones to do it.”- Dickinson College for Global Environmental Activism [/item
  • 4 Matthew McConaughey
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    “If we’re going to make a mistake, we’ve got to own them, make amends and you’ve got to move on.”- University of Houston [/item
  • 5 Maya Rudolph
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    “If I must give any of you advice, it would be this. Say yes. Say ’yes, and.’ And create your own destiny. Hold onto your old friends. Kiss your mama. Admit what your dreams are. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know what you’re gonna do tomorrow, but work hard and don’t be lazy. And put away your damn iPhone once in a while.”- Tulane University (Her Beyoncé impression was ridiculously on-point, too.) [/item
  • 6 First Lady Michelle Obama
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    “…when we pull ourselves out of those lowest emotional depths, and we channel our frustrations into studying and organizing and banding together – then we can build ourselves and our communities up.”- Tuskegee University [/item
  • 7 Former President George W. Bush
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    “To those of you who are graduating this afternoon with high honors, awards and distinctions, I say, ’Well done.’ And as I like to tell the C students – you too, can be president.”- Southern Methodist University [/item
  • 8 Bill Nye
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    “Wear good shoes in a thumbtack factory and don’t try to smoke in the rain. In fact, don’t smoke at all, ever.”- Rutgers University [/item
  • 9 Denzel Washington
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    “Don’t be afraid to fail big, to dream big, but remember, dreams without goals, are just dreams. And they ultimately fuel disappointment. … I try to give myself a goal every day, sometimes it’s just not to curse somebody out.”- Dillard University [/item
  • 10 Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright
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    “No matter our race, creed, gender, or sexual orientation, we are all equal shareholders in the American Dream. And that means we do not fear our differences, we embrace them.”- Tufts University [/item