It is graduation season, an exciting time to head on to your next chapter of learning. We want to congratulate all of the graduates for all the hard work you’ve put in over the years. Whether you are moving on to middle school, high school, college, graduate school, or the real world, we hope that continue to take time to learn. Congrats!

Just remember there is always…

Time to learn.

Time to explore.

Time to succeed.


We compiled some inspirational/funny/educational/motivational quotes from commencement speeches over the years. To watch or find more commencement speeches check out the new NPR Education Blog.
Share your favorite quotes with us in comments!


“The unfortunate, yet truly exciting thing about your life is that there is no core curriculum. The entire place is an elective.”
– Jon Stewart, 1984, College of William & Mary


“Take action. Every story you’ve ever connected with, every leader you’ve ever admired, every puny little thing that you’ve ever accomplished is the result of taking action. You have a choice. You can either be a passive victim of circumstance or you can be the active hero of your own life.”
–Bradley Whitford, 2006, University of Wisconsin


“Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that”
– Ellen DeGeneres, 2009, Tulane University


“Don’t be afraid of fear. Because it sharpens you, it challenges you, it makes you stronger; and when you run away from fear, you also run away from the opportunity to be your best possible self.”
– Ed Helms, 2013, Knox College


“You get some success. You run into some walls…it’s how tenacious you are, how irrepressible, how ultimately optimistic and tenacious you are about it that will determine your success.”
– Steve Ballmer, 2011, University of Southern California


“There are times when you are going to do well, and times when you’re going to fail. But neither the doing well, nor the failure is the measure of success. The measure of success is what you think about what you’ve done. Let me put that another way: The way to be happy is to like yourself and the way to like yourself is to do only things that make you proud.”
– Marc S. Lewis, 2000, University of Texas Austin