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On Point's Graduation Speech Series: Video, Links

During this graduation season, On Point has been playing excerpts from notable commencement addresses. Below are videos of, or links to, all seven that we've played so far, beginning with the most recent.

Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn (Credit: Middlebury College)
Nicholas Kristof, Sheryl WuDunn (Credit: Middlebury College)

1) New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and author Sheryl WuDunn spoke at Middlebury College in Vermont. In 1990, the married team won a Pulitzer Prize for their coverage of China’s Tiananmen Square. At Middlebury, they encouraged graduates to help people one at a time, and said not to worry about immediately solving large-scale problems. You can watch the full address.

2) Writer John Grisham gave the commencement address for the graduates of the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill. His speech's theme was "Find A Voice." You can read the transcript. Here's the full address:

3) Anderson Cooper, Emmy Award-winning journalist and CNN news anchor, has covered major events around the globe in Iraq, Afghanistan, and along the U.S. Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. He spoke to the graduates of Tulane University in New Orleans about what he had learned from his years as a foreign correspondent, and now as a host of his own show, “Anderson Cooper 360." You can read the transcript and see the whole address.

4) Actress Meryl Streep addressed the 600 graduates of Barnard College, the women’s college in New York affiliated with Columbia University. In the excerpt we played, Streep talks about being “an expert in pretending to be an expert." Here's her full address:

5) Former Vice President Al Gore addressed the 1,030 graduates of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. At the end of our hour about offshore drilling's future, we listened to a piece of that address, where Gore talks about “the climate crisis" and the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, among other things. Here's Gore's full address:

6) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger addressed the 3,900 graduates at Emory University in Atlanta. He joked about Arizona and his immigration status. He also spoke about the added responsibility of being an immigrant in America—and what it means to give back to your country. Here's his full address:

7) Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told graduates at the University of South Carolina why they need to look beyond a big income. His message was simple, echoing the wisdom of parents across the country that “Money doesn’t buy happiness.”

In the excerpt we aired, he elaborated on that theme: "Sometimes, difficult choices can open the doors to future opportunities, and the short-run pain can be worth the long-run gain. Just as importantly, life satisfaction requires an ethical framework. Everyone needs such a framework. In the short run, it is possible that doing the ethical thing will make you feel, well, unhappy. In the long run, though, it is essential for a well-balanced and satisfying life."

Here's the full transcript. And watch the video.

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