The week before she addressed the Center for American Progress’ Ideas Conference in Washington, Elizabeth Warren spoke in front of a crowd at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in May. The senator kicked things off with jokes about “Elizabeth Warren’s Commencement Speech Drinking Game,” and, of course, Trump. “If you learn nothing else from this speech, please know this” she said, “Fireball is a nickname Donald Trump uses on Twitter, not a beverage to be consumed by distinguished college graduates.”
Steve Van Zandt, Rutgers
Little Steven didn’t get up on stage to talk about playing shows or to promote his most recent solo record during his Rutgers’ commencement speech. “My generation was going to change the world,” Van Zandt told the audience. “We started some things. But you’ve got to finish them. We got civil rights and voting rights passed. We established environmental protection, and now the environment is under attack like never before. You know the future is green. I know the future is green. You’ve got to finish the job.”
Forget the speaker – this one’s all about the students. Vice President Mike Pence spoke at Notre Dame earlier this month and, according to the New York Times, “several dozen” students peacefully protested by exiting the stadium to both applause and booing.
Oprah Winfrey, Smith College
Oprah’s at your graduation, and your graduation, and your graduation and yours! You get a speech, you get a speech and you get a speech! The TV legend and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks actress recently spoke at Skidmore College, as well as Agnes Scott, and gave an inspiring address at Smith College, above. “Make it your intention to serve through your life with purpose – you will have a blessed life,” Winfrey said.
Hillary Clinton, Wellesley College
Hillary Clinton headed back to her alma mater, Wellesley College, again to deliver its 2017 commencement address. “Now you may have heard things didn’t exactly go the way I’d planned,” said Clinton, who won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, getting laughs from the crowd. “But you know what? I’m doing OK. I’ve gotten to spend time with my family, especially my amazing grandchildren. I was going to give the entire commencement speech about them but was talked out of it. Long walks in the woods. Organizing my closets, right? I won’t lie, chardonnay helped a little, too. But here’s what helped most of all: Remembering who I am, where I come from, and what I believe, and that is what Wellesley means to me.