A degree’s worth has nothing to do with the celebrity who gives the commencement speech at your graduation. But besides that, getting a great speaker at your college is pretty awesome. Here are ten of the coolest commencement speakers this year, ranging from hilarious to legendary.
Michelle Bachmann – Regent University
This Minnesota state representative is giving the commencement speech at Regent University in Virginia. So why does this woman, whose greatest achievement may possibly be her starring role in the blog bachmanneyezed.tumblr.com, make the cut into best commencement speaker of 2012? Everyone is excited for her to start her speech, “I am not a witch,” and see how much hate-mongering she can fit into a a few minutes. Like, remember that time she voted no on the College Cost Reduction and Access Act? That’ll be awkward.
Sanjay Gupta – University of Michigan
The University of Michigan is having CNN’s medical correspondent speak at its commencement. He’s an awesome speaker simply because of the way he has ramified so many college lives. For example I can’t count how many times I’ve trolled WebMD in search of the right symptom to diagnose me with whatever Dr. Gupta is bantering about. It’s not my fault he keeps showing up on Anderson Cooper as I try to get my daily dose of his silver foxiness.
Tony Blair – Colby College
Tony Blair isn’t just relevant because his entire commencement speech will be given in a cool British accent. Blair is speaking at Colby College in Maine, and the former Prime Minister of the U.K. making him twice as interesting as anyone in the royal family, and almost half as interesting as J.K. Rowling. Yes all British people are comparable. Oh yeah and the fact that Blair was Prime Minister of a country probably means he has important things to say. But in all honesty all I really want to know is if he has Pippa Middleton’s phone number. Call me maybe?
Reid Hoffman (co-founder of LinkedIn) – Babson College
Unless you’ve seriously got your life together, most graduating college students are finally realizing the importance of having their degree as a finally permanent bullet on their resume. And if they don’t already have one, a LinkedIn profile is a must! Time to start networking networking like the social media butterfly you’ve always wanted to be. Hoffman is speaking at Babson College in Massachusetts.
Ed Catmull (CEO Pixar) – University of Utah
We are the generation that grew up with Toy Story and Finding Nemo, so what better way to start an educational adult-life than with the head of the company that brought us all those memories we enjoyed as kids and college students. The only speech that could be better than this would be just a repeating recording of Ellen DeGeneres singing, “Just Keep Swimming,” in her Dory voice. Now that’s solid advice that got me through college.
Eric Schmidt (CEO of Google) – Boston University
Now if you don’t think about how much money and control the Google Corporation has, it actually seems pretty wonderful. Which is pretty fitting for BU, a great school once you get around the fact that it’s one of the most expensive in the nation. Google is the one place all modern day thesis papers start and where having a customized logo in your honor is on par with a Nobel Prize. It’s obvious the chairman of the greatest corporation in the world is bound to have some indispensable advice for fresh professionals.
Steve Carell – Princeton
Steve Carell is the perfect commencement speaker for a school whose graduating class has spent the last four years plagued by Ivy League seriousness. The man who brought us The 40 Year Old Virgin and the rest of Paul Rudd’s better movies will probably give the funniest speech out of all the contenders on this list which isn’t saying much considering its mostly politicians and businessmen. But nonetheless, there’s nothing more important than a funny commencement speech.
Bill Nye the Science Guy – Rochester Institute of Technology
How fitting, that the host of the quintessential kid’s science program speaks at one of the top engineering schools in the nation. For many, Bill Nye inspired careers in science, just like he inspired me to wear more bow-ties. He’ll probably give an endearing speech full of random scientific facts and childhood memories, and it would be poetic justice for Nye to end his speech with, “Now You Know!”
President Barak Obama – Barnard College
It doesn’t get much better than having the President of the United States of America speak at your graduation, let alone the first African American president and the first to capture the youth’s vote. For many of us, his election was the first we could participate in/actually cared about. Obama will probably speak about some change we can believe in etc., but like, it’s Obama… I could listen to that man read the phonebook or Leviticus
Oprah Winfrey – Spelman College
America’s MVP is speaking at Spelman College in Atlanta. If I found out my school was bringing Oprah to speak to my graduating class I would probably go all sorts of Beloved crazy. Like Oprah peeing for ten minutes crazy (Google it.) I can’t even begin to imagine what sort of glory would erupt from her majesty. She’s Oprah! Picture the excitement of the audience when she announces that underneath their seats is a financial package paying off all their student loans!