Commencement speeches from journalists: 'We love what we do. We love what we do'

Journalists are natural commencement speakers, and this spring many have already spoken to graduating classes. Here's a roundup of recent quotes delivered at the nation's podia by journalists and other media types:

Eric Schmidt told Boston University students this weekend to take a break from screentime: "Take one hour a day and turn that thing off."

• Lebanese journalist Ramy Khouri told communications and journalism students at Northwestern University in Qatar that the Arab Spring "is the single biggest story in a generation, and it is falling into your lap. You leave here with a formidable toolkit to cover it in all the ways you will find work in the region.”

Brian Williams told George Washington University students he wished he'd finished college: "Don’t forget that by being here today that you have now achieved something I was not able to achieve.” Carlos Slim also spoke at GW and told students success "is the harmony between our soul and our emotion."

• Columbia j-school prof and New York Times columnist James B. Stewart Jr. told students at DePauw University that life's defining moments are "not the great ceremonial occasions of life, such as weddings, anniversaries, or even winning the Pulitzer Prize, memorable though these are."

• At Yale's Class Day, Barbara Walters told grads to follow their bliss. She also told them failure was an option: "If you have a failure, you will rise ... You will be fine. You will work your way back."

Katie Couric told University of Virginia graduates about her college days: “Some said I lacked ‘gravitas,’ which I’ve since decided is Latin for ‘testicles.’”

Bob Schieffer, at Louisiana State University's Manship School of Mass Communication, said luck and hard work are twinned: "My tip to you is the harder you work, the luckier you get."

David Simon told Georgetown University grads “My generation owes yours an apology, because we definitely shanked it.” (Georgetown does not offer a journalism major but recently added a minor in the field.)

• Cartoonist Mike Peters told Washington University in St. Louis flat-cappers to "try to get a job in those things you love.... all of the people who are going to be getting honorary degrees, the thing we all have together is we love what we do. We love what we do."

Ira Glass told Goucher College students that his grandmother, Frieda Friedlander, met Adolf Hitler after she graduated from Goucher. "It is entirely possible that, as a Goucher grad, you or you or you will get the chance to change the world and kill Adolf Hitler, and you will miss it ... I think it's just as likely you'll continue to grow."

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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