Aaron Sorkin's Commencement Address At Syracuse Was A Thing Of Beauty

One of my favorite things about this time of year are the commencement addresses delivered to graduating students at colleges and universities across that country that pop up on YouTube. I enjoy watching/listening/reading these speeches because I think they’re often filled with wisdom and inspiration that we all can take from them.

At some point in the coming days there will probably be an UPROXX post featuring what we think are the best ones, but some are so outstanding that they deserve their own post, like the one Aaron Sorkin delivered at Syracuse University last weekend, my favorite line from which is this…

“Develop your own compass, and trust it. Take risks, dare to fail, remember the first person through the wall always gets hurt.”

Yes, the soon-to-be-shamer of Ashton Kutcher is spot-on. Video and full transcript of his speech are below. Enjoy…

Thank you very much. Madam Chancellor, members of the Board of Trustees, members of the faculty and administration, parents and friends, honored guests and graduates, thank you for inviting me to speak today at this magnificent Commencement ceremony.

There’s a story about a man and a woman who have been married for 40 years. One evening at dinner the woman turns to her husband and says, “You know, 40 years ago on our wedding day you told me that you loved me and you haven’t said those words since.” They sit in silence for a long moment before the husband says “If I change my mind, I’ll let you know.”

Well, it’s been a long time since I sat where you sit, and I can remember looking up at my teachers with great admiration, with fondness, with gratitude and with love. Some of the teachers who were there that day are here this day and I wanted to let them know that I haven’t changed my mind.

There’s another story. Two newborn babies are lying side by side in the hospital and they glance at each other. Ninety years later, through a remarkable coincidence, the two are back in the same hospital lying side by side in the same hospital room. They look at each other and one of them says, “So what’d you think?”

It’s going to be a very long time before you have to answer that question, but time shifts gears right now and starts to gain speed. Just ask your parents whose heads, I promise you, are exploding right now. They think they took you home from the maternity ward last month. They think you learned how to walk last week. They don’t understand how you could possibly be getting a degree in something today. They listened to “Cats in the Cradle” the whole car ride here.

×