Commencement speeches are well named because they are always about a new start. They are also, of course, about an ending. Such speeches are what are used when students are leaving High school to go to University or when graduates are leaving University to start their careers.
These speeches should, therefore, be motivational in tone. They are saying "You are now qualified to go on with your life." These speeches give a little peep into the future explaining the sort of options that will now be open to the students. They should speak too of gratitude to those who have got those students so far along their journey of life. Speeches given at this time will speak of parents and tutors and perhaps librarians who have helped students in their quest for knowledge.
Commencement speeches are given by College Heads or by visiting speakers. Such visiting speakers are usually chosen because of their expertise in some field. They are saying to students, "This is what I have done and the same opportunities are available to you." They are meant to inspire the students and such speeches are often given by people who are very famous.
The speeches are given on a day when students are in good form and receptive to the ideas of challenge and change. The hard work done by the students is always recognised. They are complimented on their achievement thus far. Those giving such speeches will usually laughingly refer to the celebrations that will undoubtedly be taking place that night.
Many schools and universities have traditions associated with graduation. It may be the colours of the cloaks students wear. It may be an address given in Latin. Commencement speeches are only part of the bigger picture but they vocalise all that we wish for for our students.
The speeches are as different as the speakers themselves. They may be funny or serious. They may be inspirational or dull. Maybe, if the students have already been celebrating, those commencement speeches may be falling on deaf ears. On the other hand those all important speeches can give students and idea or a thought that will mean something to them for the rest of their lives. Commencement speeches then are like roadmaps. As they end one phase of their lives and enter another such speeches can steer students in the right direction.
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Niamh Crowe has written Commencement speeches for 20 years. Her site has thousands of speeches for every event and occasion including Student council speeches, birthdays, inspirational speeches, groom speech etc.
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