The Art of the Commencement Speech

The Art of the Com­mence­ment Speech is a pro­ject by The Human­ity Ini­ti­at­ive to col­lect the best com­mence­ment addresses since 1936. To date there are 29 speeches avail­able, from John F. Kennedy (Amer­ic­an Uni­ver­sity, 1963), Václav Havel (Har­vard Uni­ver­sity, 1995) and The Dalai Lama (Emory Uni­ver­sity, 1998). The com­mence­ment cere­mony affirms each student’s search for […]

Our Self-Centered ‘Default’ Worldview: DFW’s Commencement Address

Recent talk of the cor­res­pond­ence bias (here) reminded me of pos­sibly the best com­mence­ment speech that I’ve not yet writ­ten about (and I’ve writ­ten about quite a few): Dav­id Foster Wallace’s com­mence­ment address to the gradu­ates of Kenyon Col­lege in 2005. The speech, often cited as Wallace’s only pub­lic talk con­cern­ing his worldview, was adap­ted fol­low­ing […]

Top Speeches and Motivational Videos

Amer­ic­an Rhet­or­ic is a “speech bank” hold­ing over 5,000 full text, audio and video on some of the most fam­ous speeches, lec­tures, debates and inter­views of all time. Recently they released a list of the top 100 speeches in Amer­ic­an 20th cen­tury polit­ics (com­plete with tran­script and audio). Mar­tin Luth­er King, Jr. – “I Have […]

Medicine, Specialism, and the Scientific Education

In the com­mence­ment speech he delivered to the gradu­ates of Stanford’s School of Medi­cine earli­er this year, Atul Gawande elo­quently (as ever) examined the state of mod­ern medi­cine (in the U.S. spe­cific­ally, the world gen­er­ally), the prob­lem with spe­cial­ism, and the prob­lem of spe­cial­ists try­ing to fit into a sys­tem not neces­sar­ily designed for it. […]