GRADUATION: Greatest Quotes – Invocation & Advice and The Nature & Value of Education


  1. Now that you’re getting your degrees it’s a good time to set goals and devise a plan. You need a roadmap, but be prepared for unintended detours, confusing signs and closed roads. Don’t be afraid of change or unwilling to change. Enjoy the journey, wherever it takes you, because that’s your life. — Michael Josephson
  2. Put your future in good hands — your own. — Unknown
  3. What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  4. Do not follow where the path may lead.  Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  5. People who don’t believe in you are right only if you believe they are. — Michael Josephson
  6. The difference between stepping stones and stumbling blocks is not in the event itself but how you think about it and what you do after it. Every failure and setback can become part of your success or an excuse for quitting or failing. People who develop the discipline of positivity are both happier and more successful. — Michael Josephson
  7. The choices you make in life will make your life. — Michael Josephson
  8. Don’t live down to expectations.  Go out there and do something remarkable. — Wendy Wasserstein
  9. I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known. — Unknown
  10. Go out there and do your part to change the world. You may not change all you had hoped but the world will be better for the caring demonstrated by your effort. — Michael Josephson
  11. Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you. — Ralph Waldo Emerson
  12. You may think of your diploma as the ticket to the good life.  Let me ask you to think of an alternative.  Think of it as your ticket to change the world. — Tom Brokaw
  13. Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value. — Albert Einstein
  14. You have brains in your head. / You have feet in your shoes. / You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. / You’re on your own. / And you know what you know. / You are the guy who’ll decide where to go. — Dr. Seuss
  15. Shoot for the moon.  Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars. — Les Brown
  16. The future lies before you / Like a field of driven snow, / Be careful how you tread it, / For every step will show.—  Unknown
  17. If one advances confidently in the direction of his dream, and endeavors to live the life which he had imagines, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. — Henry David Thoreau
  18. Your schooling may be over, but remember that your education still continues.— Unknown
  19. One can never consent to creep when one feels the compulsion to soar. — Helen Keller
  20. In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins:  cash and experience.  Take the experience first; the cash will come later. — Harold Geneen
  21. You are the captain of your own ship; don’t let anyone else take the wheel. — Michael Josephson
  22. There is just one life for each of us:  our own. — Euripides
  23. Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” — Steve Jobs
  24. Take pride in how far you’ve come. Have faith in how far you can go. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey. — Michael Josephson
  25. Don’t be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can’t cross a chasm in two small jumps. — David Lloyd George
  26. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. — Robert Louis Stevenson
  27. How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone. — Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel
  28. Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved.  Always remember, failure is not fatal and success is not final. — Unknown
  29. Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures. — H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  30. We cannot make the wind or change its direction, but we can adjust our sails and that will make all the difference. — Unknown
  31. Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn’t always have to be their top priority. — William Arthur Ward
  32. The real milestones are less prepossessing.  They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave.  Our lives are measured by these. — Susan B. Anthony
  33. What will matter in the end is not what you bought but what you built; not what you got but what you gave; not what you learned by what you taught. What will matter is not your competence but your character. — Michael Josephson
  34. What will matter is not your competence, but your character. What will matter is not how many people you knew but how many will feel a lasting loss when you are gone. What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by who and for what? — Michael Josephson
  35. Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. — Bernard Baruch (often mistakenly attributed to Dr. Seuss)
  36. To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting. — e.e. cummings
  37. Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else. — Judy Garland
  38. Go out there and do something so the tassel is worth the hassle! — Unknown
  39. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. — Mark Twain


  1. If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.— Benjamin Franklin
  2. Education is a companion which no misfortune can depress, no crime can destroy, no enemy can alienate, no despotism can enslave. At home, a friend, abroad, an introduction, in solitude a solace and in society an ornament. It chastens vice, it guides virtue, it gives at once grace and government to genius. Without it, what is man? A splendid slave, a reasoning savage. — Joseph Addison
  3. Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. — William Butler Yeats
  4. The one real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions. — Bishop Mandell Creighton
  5. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows. — Sydney J. Harris
  6. It is indeed ironic that we spend our school days yearning to graduate and our remaining days waxing nostalgic about our school days. — Isabel Waxman
  7. The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate. — Doug Larson
  8. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance! — Unknown
  9. Education is the best provision for old age. — Aristotle
  10. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going. — Beverly Sills
  11. The mark of a true MBA is that he is often wrong but seldom in doubt.—  Robert Buzzell
  12. A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimension.—  Oliver Wendell Holmes
  13. One of the Befits of a College Degree: A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad. — Theodore Roosevelt
  14. Colleges are places where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed.—  R.S. Ingersoll
  15. To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you too may one day be president of the United States.” — George W. Bush
  16. The fruit of liberal education is not learning, but the capacity and desire to learn, not knowledge, but power. — Charles W. Eliot
  17. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education. — Martin Luther King, Jr.
  18. The value of an education is a liberal arts college is not learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks. John Dryden Hind
  19. When asked how much educated men were superior to those uneducated, Aristotle answered, ‘As much as the living are to the dead.’ Diogenes Laetius
  20. It is in fact a part of the function of education to help us escape, not from our own time —  for we are bound by that —  but from the intellectual and emotional limitations of our time. T.S. Eliot
  21. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human soul. — Joseph Addison
  22. Does anyone else find it odd that so many graduation speakers talk about individuality and innovation while wearing  a very old-fashioned silly hat and gown (like all the faculty and administrators behind her) while addressing hundreds of identically outfitted students? — Michael Josephson
  23. You will be told to seize opportunities. Well, today may be one. Your parents are likely to be exceptionally proud and happy today. It may be a good time to ask for money. — Michael Josephson
  24. Education’s purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one. — Malcolm S. Forbes
  25. Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated. — Garry Trudeau
  26. Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. — Robert Frost
  27. I think everyone should go to college and get a degree and then spend six months as a bartender and six months as a cabdriver. Then they would really be educated. — Al McGuire
  28. The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn. — Alvin Toffler
  29. It is a thousand times better to have common sense without education than to have education without common sense. — Robert Green Ingersoll
  30. The purpose of a liberal education is to make you philosophical enough to accept the fact that you will never make much money. — Unknown
  31. Education would be much more effective if its purpose was to ensure that by the time they leave school every boy and girl should know how much they do not know, and be imbued with a lifelong desire to know it. — William Haley