Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Commencement speeches

'Tis the season for advice, humor, platitudes, and reminiscences from speakers' platforms around the country. Want to find some?

What appears to be a great selection is humanity.org. It includes Steve Jobs, Toni Morrison, Martha Nussbaum, Madelaine Albright, Gloria Steinem, and more. As "oldie but goodies," there's George C. Marshall announcing the Marshall Plan (1947) and a JFK speech in

Another selection is in Yahoo's directory. It includes Richard Feynman (1974), Will Ferrell (2003), George W. Bush (West Point, 2002)

C-SPAN has video clips of about 30 speeches delivered in 2005.

Flylittlebird is an interesting website that presents "an experiment in building collective wisdom from hundreds of undergraduate commencement speeches." Results include a table listing issues by
urgency score. (The top issues are lack of democratic participation, terrorism, open questions regarding the war in Iraq, and lack of leadership in U.S.)

Flylittlebird.org also has a searchable archive of speeches.

Image: Jimmy Carter gives keynote address at commencement ceremonies at Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA., 02/20/1979. Carter White House Photographs Collection. arcweb.archives.gov.

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