10 Famous Commencement Speeches


Maria Shriver at College of the Holy Cross, 1998

maria shriver
Maria Shriver attends an event for the documentary "Paycheck To Paycheck," which she executive-produced, in Hollywood, March 2014. Kevork Djansezian/Getty Image

"Don't expect anyone else to support you financially."

When Maria Shriver, NBC news anchor and third-generation Kennedy, addressed 1998 graduates at College of the Holy Cross, her remarks received national attention. Shriver mentioned that she'd gotten a lot of advice on what she should say but decided to share her "top-ten list of things I wish someone had told me when I was sitting, like you, at my graduation." (Among them: "Pinpoint your passion." "No job is beneath you." And, "Superwoman is dead" [source: Holy Cross].

Shriver backed up her advice with personal stories from her career and parenting adventures, and took a humorous approach to life's toughest moments [source: Holy Cross].

The well-received speech formed the basis of "Ten Things I Wish I'd Known—Before I Went Out into the Real World," a book that became an instant hit in the graduation gift category.

In 2012, Shriver followed up with a second powerful commencement speech, "The Power of the Pause." Delivered at the University of Southern California on the occasion of her daughter's graduation, Shriver asked the new grads to pause before making judgments or decisions.