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Bring On the Commencement Speeches

By Isabel Kallman

What I remember most about my own college graduation in 1993 was Marian Wright Edelman’s words “Superwoman doesn’t exist… she died of exhaustion.” I can’t tell you how often I hear those words in my head.

It’s graduation season which means the commencement speeches are starting to roll in on YouTube. Which means we all get to hear them now. YAY!

Did you happen to catch President Obama’s commencement address to Barnard graduates? WOW. He said exactly what needed to be said right now to the women who need to hear it. The speech is 30 minutes long, but it is worth it. It’s not a campaign speech, but a touching homage to the women in his life… his mother, grandmother, wife and daughters. It’s also brings home that we are in the midst of history making with LGBT rights.

The other commencement speech that really moved me was Aaron Sorkin’s address to Syracuse University graduates. It’s shorter at sixteen minutes and though the first 10 minutes are amusing, it’s the next six minutes that you must hear. Sorkin is a powerful writer and he hits it out of the ballpark with his speech. We all know our words matter, but I’m not so sure these college graduates do.

Now, I would love for you to share in the comments section any commencement speeches recently or in the past that have moved you. I was looking to see whether there existed any YouTube Channels dedicated to commencement speeches. But alas I couldn’t find any. Wouldn’t that be great if there were one? It would be like TED for Dummies. I would totally watch it.

Photo source: Pablo Martinez Monsivais – AP/ Washington Post

Isabel Kallman
About the Author

Isabel Kallman

Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.


Isabel Kallman is the founding mom of

Feel free to send nice emails to isabel[at]alphamom[dot]com.

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I really like JK Rowling’s commencement speech where she talks about the benefits of failure.