Commencement speeches — I don’t remember most of them

27 May

Do this. Don’t do that.

This is the time of year for commencement speeches. A time when speakers pass out tips to graduates who may or may not take them.

I’ve heard many commencement speeches over the years, but I don’t remember most of them. One that did stand out was a speech by Dr. A. Lynn Bryant, president of Marycrest College from 1981-1986.

He offered three rules for achieving success:

1. Don’t give up.

2. Don’t ever give up.

3. Don’t ever ever give up.

Greg Gutfeld of Fox News, one of five commentators on a talk show called “The Five,” recently used the program to offer some advice to graduates.

But he prefaced it by saying that college commencement addresses are usually garbage.

“They’re for colleges seeking publicity,” he said. “So you end up with a star hawking platitudes to an audience suckled on baby formula called ‘The Daily Show.’”

That, of course, is a generalization and not always the case.

Here are Gutfeld’s tips for grads, edited for length:

• “Take any job, any job you can find. Work your butt off for one solid decade — that will put you 10 years up on any pothead backpacking to Europe (or) videogame-playing drone….”

• “Also, ask dumb questions and listen quietly for the answers.”

• “Steer clear of pot. It’s an ambition zapper.”

• “Move somewhere with decent public transit so you don’t drive drunk and hit somebody.”

• “Scalpel your online footprint to a fly’s toe. Twitter is the contrail of life. When I’m hiring I don’t need to see your naked butt. … Real experience beats web activity. Everything is being filmed. So any public rant you do to a clerk at a shoe store — that scars you eternally.”

• “If you’re the person doing the hiring, forgive a scar or two. Remember that when we were young, we were also idiots. There were just no cameras there to catch it.”


My wife, Sherry, has an iPod, an iPad and an iPhone. I don’t have any of those. It’s my choice. I’m really quite happy with the technology of the 1980s — or prior.

A recent headline on the cover of Consumer Reports spoke of “smart technology.”

So I jokingly asked Sherry if one of my cassette recorders/players would qualify as smart technology.

“Do you know how to operate it?” she asked.

“Yes,” I proudly replied.

“Then no, it’s not,” she said wryly.

Copyright 2015 by Phil Roberts, Creative Enterprises. This piece ran as a column in The North Scott Press, Eldridge, Iowa.

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Posted by on May 27, 2015 in Uncategorized


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