Tweeter’s Digest: The Best Graduation Quotes from Commencement Speeches of 2012

Skip the fancy four-year degree as we curate the most inspirational graduation quotes (in 140 characters or less) from this year's top speakers.

By Damon Beres
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Oprah Winfrey

Where: Spelman College

When: May 20, 2012

What we learned: Oprah Winfrey, TV legend and CEO of Harpo Productions, told graduates to dream big and "always do the right thing."

Tweet to repeat:

Colin Powell

Where: Northeastern University

When: May 4, 2012

What we learned: Colin Powell, former secretary of state, encouraged graduates to become active voters and to explore new cultures, ideas and possibilities.

Tweet to repeat:

Michael Bloomberg

Where: University of North Carolina

When: May 13, 2012

What we learned: New York City's 108th mayor shared secrets to his success—and told grads how to get the upper hand in a competitive market.

Tweet to repeat:

Katie Couric

Where: University of Virginia

When: May 20, 2012

What we learned: Alumna Katie Couric, famed news anchor, shared wisdom on coping with hardship and staying optimistic through life's challenges.

Tweet to repeat:

Sonia Sotomayor

Where: New York University

When: May 16, 2012

What we learned: Raised in a Bronx housing project only to become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice, Sonia Sotomayor advised graduates to keep up their spirits no matter how long the odds.

Tweet to repeat:

Aaron Sorkin

Where: Syracuse University

When: May 13, 2012

What we learned: Aaron Sorkin, acclaimed playwright, movie and TV writer (A Few Good Men and The West Wing, for example) took a cue from some of his own stories and told grads at his alma mater that a small, dedicated group of people can make a big difference.

Tweet to repeat:

Christiane Amanpour

Where: University of Southern California

When: May 12, 2012

What we learned: The ABC News anchor encouraged graduates to find success by following their dreams—and using the skills they've developed as students.

Tweet to repeat:

Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Where: University of Michigan

When: April 28, 2012

What we learned: When Dr. Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, spoke at his alma mater, he told graduates to expect the unexpected and have confidence in who they are.

Tweet to repeat:

Mitt Romney

Where: Liberty University

When: May 12, 2012

What we learned: Mitt Romney, Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Massachusetts, highlighted the virtues of faith and told graduates to stick to their principles.

Tweet to repeat:

Barack Obama

Where: Barnard College

When: May 20, 2012

What we learned: Speaking to the female-only audience of graduates, the president told stories of the strong women who inspired him and encouraged graduates to work hard and achieve big things.


Tweet to repeat:

Michelle Obama

Where: Virginia Tech

When: May 11, 2012

What we learned: First Lady Michelle Obama stressed the importance of community, collaboration and giving back.

Tweet to repeat:

Jane Lynch

Where: Smith College

When: May 20, 2012

What we learned: Jane Lynch, the Emmy-award winning actress known for her work on Glee, told grads to enjoy life's surprises and avoid planning ahead.

Tweet to repeat:

Sutton Foster

Where: Ball State University

When: May 5, 2012

What we learned: Two-time Tony Award-winner Sutton Foster shared advice about taking pride in one's work and the importance of looking out for others.

Tweet to repeat:

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