Great Commencement Address Topics


If your speech matters, writing it well matters.

A commencement address can be about a lot of things but it can’t be about of all of them. You can include stories about your life, but point back to the grads.

This list is hardly exhaustive, but it’s a place to start. Email us your ideas.

  • School’s mission statement
  • School’s history
  • A major event at the school
  • How the school helped you
  • Don’t be limited by failure
  • Remember where you’re from
  • Live your dream
  • Build on what you’ve learned
  • Work with people who are different from you
  • Perseverance
  • Biggest lesson you’ve learned since graduating
  • Chase hope
  • Don’t chase money
  • Use your skills for good
  • Success isn’t wealth
  • Keep learning
  • Don’t settle for mediocrity
  • How to rebuild after tragedy
  • Work with integrity

Topics to Avoid

You can acknowledge something if it is core to your message, but try to avoid the following. They lead to disengagement, divisiveness, and anger. You might find yourself quoted in the media, but this isn’t the time to be an activist. Keep it PG — no profanity, no double entendres, or other off-color language. Event producers have the right to cut your mike (and should) if you get into topics better suited for another context.

  • Your political views
  • Your social issue views
  • Overt religious topics (unless you are at a religious school)

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