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speaking at Fashion Institute of Technology's commencement ceremony
WISDOM WE ALREADY KNEW AFTER WATCHING 7 SEASONS OF PROJECT RUNWAY
''The fashion industry has a particular flair for making any slight feel as though it's the worst thing that's ever happened and any small victory as if it's the most extravagant accomplishment since the wheel. This emotional metronome can lead to a very surreal work environment — I promise that.''
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speaking at Sarah Lawrence College's commencement ceremony
BEST ONSTAGE TEARS
''I was so nervous [to speak], in fact, that I've done a bit of reconnaissance. I've read every graduation speech ever written. I sought advice from the smartest people I know, but mostly, I have been listening. Listening to your reflections on the school, listening to your plans postcollege, and listening to your thoughts on our future. Part of this listening was to help me write this speech, but selfishly, part of it was for my 2-year-old son [pause] because he has such a big stake in your actions.'' [She stops to wipe her eyes.]
''Shortly after graduation, I got very, very, very, very lucky. I landed a role on a show called ER. It was a huge hit all over the world. I soon had money, accolades, status, and George Clooney.'' [Crowd cheers.]
3 of 10
speaking at Vassar College's commencement ceremony
BEST EFFORT WITH A TOUGH CROWD
''It's not like there's some kind of social network wherein I could communicate with such a large number of people at once. [Few laughs] That's a joke because there is such a thing. It's called the Internet.''
''Over the next eight years, my resolve and commitment was steadily challenged. Challenged by casting directors telling me to my face that I was horrible. Agents letting me know, 'It's hard; we don't know what to do with you. They want gorgeous on TV, you know? There's really not a place for you.'''
4 of 10
speaking at Tulane University's commencement ceremony
SPEECH THAT MADE US LAUGH — AND CRY
''Trustees, honored guests, faculty, friends, and Who Dats — I was curious to see how the sign language interpreter would do 'Who Dats' — [Crowd laughs] thank you very much for inviting me here to speak on this incredibly special day.''
''...I don't need to give you advice today. I don't need to teach you, in this room, a lesson. The truth is, your class has taught me a lesson — and taught all of us a lesson. As you've heard several times already today and as you know too well, you are the class that came after Katrina. And even though you've heard it a lot doesn't make it any less true. You saw this city on its knees in those weeks and months after the storm, and yet you still applied to Tulane. You could have gone elsewhere, as the president said. A lot of folks probably said you were nuts to commit to New Orleans — some of your parents probably said the same thing. But you came anyway. You took a chance. You made a tough choice, but look at you now, look at what you've accomplished, not just for yourselves, but for New Orleans. Your choice helped this city rebuild, renew, and restart.''
5 of 10
Speaking at Temple University's commencement ceremony
LINE THAT COULD HAVE BEEN USED ON A TV SHOW
''Many of you will become parents, and God has a way of paying you back.''
6 of 10
Speaking at Barnard College's commencement ceremony
''Being a celebrity has taught me to hide, but being an actor has opened my soul.''
7 of 10
Speaking...errr...singing at Temple University's commencement ceremony
BEST USE OF NATURAL TALENTS
At the end of her address and just after the two-minute mark of the video linked below, LaBelle broke out into a speaker-busting version of ''I Believe.'' Show of hands? Best. Graduation. Ever.
8 of 10
Speaking at New York University's commencement ceremony
LINE THAT COULD REIGNITE COAST WARS
''You know, California and Florida might have the sunshine, but they don't have New York University. Am I right? [Crowd cheers.] I'd rather get my degree in the rain in New York any day.''
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Speaking at Wheaton College's commencement ceremony in Massachusetts
WORST USE OF ALUMNI NAMES
The Today show anchor's attempt to laud the school's famous alumni was an epic fail, after she rattled off names like Rev. Billy Graham, Wes Craven, and Dennis Hastert, who graduated from Wheaton College...in Illinois. She later apologized for the mistake.
10 of 10
Speaking at Utah State University's commencement ceremony
SPEECH THAT MIGHT CURE INSOMNIA
When he wasn't busy getting yelled at for not saluting the United States flag, Glover gave a rambling address that would have left us dozing had we been in the audience. Sample quote: ''You could be the generation that talks about what does it mean to be small. We spend so much of our history — our most recent history — becoming larger and larger and larger and larger.''