Opinion / Politics

The Best & Worst Commencement Addresses of the Year

AMAC Exclusive
commencementAnother school year has come to a close at colleges and universities across the country, but before the class of 2021 turned the tassel to begin their journey as new graduates, they were given some sage – and in some cases, pretty strange – advice by leading politicians, academics, diplomats, and captains of industry. You may have missed most of this year’s most notable commencement addresses, so AMAC Newsline has compiled the highlights–and the lowlights–of this year’s speeches.

“The Biggest Risk Of All Is That We Stop Taking Risks At All”

Former Republican Governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels and current President of Purdue University gave perhaps the best commencement address of the season. Daniels discussed how, during the past year, America had witnessed not only a public health pandemic but also a pandemic of fear that had paralyzed America’s leaders and caused them to flinch in the face of making difficult decisions. Daniels challenged his Boilermakers to have “the courage to act on the conclusions you reach.” Here are some of the best parts of the speech:

“The risk of failure, of a hit to one’s reputation, or just that the gains don’t outweigh the costs, all these can deter or even paralyze a person out of fulfilling the responsibility someone has entrusted to them.”

“This last year, many of your elders failed this fundamental test of leadership. They let their understandable human fear of uncertainty overcome their duty to balance all the interests they were responsible for. They hid behind the advice of experts in one field but ignored the warnings of experts in other realms that they might do harm beyond the good they hoped to accomplish. Sometimes they let what might be termed the mad pursuit of zero, in this case, zero risks of anyone contracting the virus, block out other competing concerns, like the protection of mental health, the educational needs of small children, or the survival of small businesses. Pursuing one goal to the utter exclusion of all others is not to make a choice but to run from it. It’s not leadership; it’s abdication.”

“Maybe the great historian Jacques Barzun summed it up best: ‘The last degree of caution is cowardice.’ Certainty is an illusion. Perfect safety is a mirage. Zero is always unattainable, except in the case of absolute zero where, as you remember, all motion and life itself stop.”

“You are leaving here ready for leadership… All you’ll need is the courage to act on the conclusions you reach. Now take that readiness into a fearful, timid world crying for direction and boldness, where the biggest risk of all is that we stop taking risks at all.”

“Your Most Important Titles Will Be Wife, Husband, Mother, Father, Follower Of Christ.”

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave an inspirational commencement address to students at Regent University in Virginia. What set Pompeo’s speech apart from others was the fact that it challenged the class of 2021 to put faith and family at the center of their career rather than just purely professional accolades and material accomplishments.

Here are some of the best moments from Pompeo’s remarks:

“You should all know that life will offer you lots of ways to use your talents, your education, industry, your intelligence to achieve personal success, how you define it, in your chosen life, in your chosen professions. And it will also offer you chances to know a far more lasting happiness by serving someone far greater than yourself or your self-interest – your God.”

“No one here today knows where members of this class will end up. They’ll be future scientists. They’ll be business people. They’ll be teachers, members of Congress. Who knows, maybe the 79th Secretary of State or even a President. But to be honest, your most important titles will be wife, husband, mother, father, follower of Christ.”

“Every one of you will need the strength of Christ. You will need the strength of Christ in you to achieve your goals and to live in a country where you can exercise your right to worship your God as you see fit.”

“Our country must remember that no one can enjoy the pursuit of happiness if you cannot own the fruits of your own labor. And no society can retain its legitimacy or a virtuous character without religious freedom.”

“We must cherish our freedom, particularly this freedom to practice our faith, not just for the opportunities it provides to each of us, but for the goodness of living a life in accordance with God without oppression that it makes possible. And when government oppresses that freedom, we must stand up. Each of you have that responsibility. It is a big burden.”

“Humanity is impatient for your service. Your God demands it. Always remember Philippians 4:13, ‘I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.’”

“Our Goal Is An Independent Mind, In The Service Of Truth Instead Of Fads Or Groupthink.”

Joe Biden was originally supposed to speak at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. But Biden snubbed the Catholic school, apparently choosing to stay away from Notre Dame after more than 4,400 Notre Dame students and alumni wrote a letter noting that Mr. Biden had embraced “the most pro-abortion and anti-religious liberty public policy program in history.”

Instead, Jimmy Dunne gave the commencement address to Notre Dame graduates. Dunne works for an investment company that was once located on the 104th floor of 2 World Trade Center. Many of the company’s employees died on 9/11, but Dunne has worked tirelessly to help the sons and daughters of his former coworkers get the scholarships they need to attend colleges across the country, including Notre Dame.

In an emotional speech, Dunne showed the moral courage to say the things that every college student needs to hear, but no one would ever hear in a commencement address delivered by Mr. Biden. Dunne asserted that the real purpose of education is to teach about the “permanent things” to build “character, not just knowledge, moral aspiration, not just ambition.” Dunne appeared to call out cancel culture and woke college campuses as “fads” and “groupthink.” Dunne concluded his remarks with a memorable line calling out Joe Biden for not showing up. He said: “It almost makes me feel bad for the President, because he missed this wonderful sight of a graduating class as promising as any in America.”

Here are some of the most powerful parts of Dunne’s riveting address:

“The mark of a great university is that you learn more than they’re teaching. Here, we talk about forming ‘the whole person,’ and it’s a true commitment grounded in real things, permanent things. The aim is character, not just knowledge, moral aspiration, not just ambition. You’ve all got degrees in different disciplines, but you have a single major in common – and that is leadership. The fashions that wash over higher education don’t get far at this university. Our goal is an independent mind, in the service of truth instead of fads or groupthink. The great problems and moral obligations of life are not suddenly discovered here. Those obligations have been the core purpose from the start.”

“Father Jenkins touched upon what happened at our company on 9/11. We faced a passage through the dark side of life – the kind no one is ever ready for. So many colleagues, gone all at once. Wives, husbands, children left to suffer loss and find a way to keep going. Normally I would have gone straight to my two partners I knew best, but we had lost them, too. The question was, How do we recover? . . . and more than that, what can we do for those families left behind? At such moments, there isn’t time to reflect and figure out what you believe. All you have is your foundation, and you’re about to find out if it’s a good one. If you can get through, it’s going to be on the strength of what you have already. How we conducted ourselves would define who we were and what we stood for. If we were not honorable, then we stood for nothing. So, our attitude was, we are going to make brave decisions. If we fail, we fail. If we lose everything, we lose everything. But that’s what we’re going to do – especially for the children of our friends. They had lost a person in their lives who would fight for them. So, from now on, we would fight for them. We would keep faith with those families.”

“Whenever you hold yourself to the highest standards instead of just the latest ones, doing the right thing instead of just the easy thing, you’ll be putting into practice what you learned here. And as you grow in faith – aware of life’s greater purposes, and of whose purposes they are – you will see that, too, as the gift of Notre Dame.”

“What a joy it is to see the work of four years completed, in the form of such impressive, outward-looking, talented, true-hearted men and women. It almost makes me feel bad for the president because he missed this wonderful sight of a graduating class as promising as any in America.”

“You are a quiet — you’re a really dull class. I mean, come on, man. Is the sun getting to you?”

Joe Biden gave what was easily the worst commencement address of any U.S. President in recent memory to cadets at the Coast Guard Academy. Biden started the speech by asserting: “[W]e’re going to speak for about four hours” and “I thought I was hot in a blue suit.” Biden mispronounced the name of a distinguished cadet, butchered a reference to a cadet handbook, and quoted a Chinese dictator.

On two occasions, Biden asked that the cadets clap for him. Early on, Biden tried to make a joke by chiding cadets for spending “a little too much time at the Slice,” a local pizza restaurant. But Biden did not get the laughs and applause he wanted, so he instructed the cadets: “You can clap.  Come on, man.” On another occasion, Biden again demanded applause: “Congratulations the Bravo Company, by the way, on your victory. You can clap. It’s okay. Even if you’re lost, you gotta clap.”

The worst moment of the speech, though, occurred when Biden tried to tell a joke about the Navy that fell totally flat. Instead of just moving on, the man who is supposed to be America’s commander in chief directly insulted the very people who have pledged to fight and, if necessary, die to keep America safe. The actual White House transcript records Biden as saying: “You are a quiet — you’re a really dull class. I mean, come on, man. Is the sun getting to you? I would think you’d have an opportunity when I say that about the Navy to clap, but — but being here together.”

This was an embarrassing and awkward moment not only for Mr. Biden but for everyone at the ceremony.

“Just Ask Any Marine Today, Would She Rather Carry 20 Pounds Of Batteries Or A Rolled Up Solar Panel, and I am positive she will tell you a solar panel, and so would he.”

Kamala Harris followed up Biden’s brutally bad commencement speech with a woke dud of her own. Harris, addressing graduates at the Naval Academy, showed where the Biden administration’s priorities truly are in terms of national defense when she asserted that “climate change” is a “very real threat to our national security.” Harris never once mentioned China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, or any of the other “real threats” to American national security during the course of her remarks. On the topic of climate change, Harris’s comments were laughable but not in the way Harris intended them to be. She told the Navy midshipmen and Marines:

“You are ocean engineers who will help navigate ships through thinning ice. You are mechanical engineers who will help reinforce sinking bases. You are electrical engineers who will soon help convert solar and wind energy into power, convert solar and wind energy into combat power. And just ask any Marine today, would she rather carry 20 pounds of batteries or a rolled up solar panel, and I am positive she will tell you a solar panel, and so would he.”

But, solar panels store energy in batteries. The Marine, regardless of gender, will still have to carry a battery along with the solar panel. That technicality aside, these bizarre remarks were delivered by Harris as part of a commencement address on Memorial Day weekend. The sacrifices that Navy midshipmen have made for this country throughout history were never mentioned during the course of the remarks. Rather, Harris sounded like she had shown up to give a speech at the National Resources Defense Council instead of the U.S. Naval Academy. She used her time to issue veiled threats like, “One country’s carbon emissions can threaten the sustainability of the whole earth.” The likelihood that Navy graduates can actually learn something from such statements that will help them as they defend this country is doubtful at best, which is why this commencement address earns last place for the 2021 season.

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Beverly Necessary
4 months ago

I just hope the students who heard dims’ speeches (hadn’t been to brain washed) were smart enough to understand the hypocrisy.

Bill on the Hill
4 months ago

Regrettably, I caught this dimwits speech to the graduating class at the US Naval Academy & I was squirming in my seat listening to it… I witnessed Biden’s too, unfortunately…
Oh how I miss Secretary Mike Pompeo’s elegant style of communicating with others…
We as a nation need people of his stature in place right this moment in order to maintain our collective sanity moving forward…
The ( 2 ) idiots currently sitting in the big chair in the WH are as genuine as any other Marxist dictators in the world that achieved their results through the ” Art of Cheating ” an election…
One must truly admire those 8′ foot spear tipped fences that now permanently surround the Capitol in Washington, DC. It is a sight for all to see for sure…:~(
Bill on the hill… :~)

wolfman
4 months ago

What can you really say to the brainwashed upon the completion of their wash? Everything you know is wrong would be the most fitting commencement speech to the class of 2021.

Stephen Lykins
4 months ago

The speech I most remember at a commencement was the valedictorian speech given at a high school graduation ENTIRELY in Wookie. Better speech than by ANY politician!

Mark
4 months ago

It must have been torture for these graduates to have to sit and listen to the BS spewed by the moronic fake President and Vice President. What a way to ruin what should have been one of the most memorable days in their lives.

Joan
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark

He is worse than Jimmy Carter….Carter, at least, was a nice person as well as smart and a true patriot just not right for the job as President. Biden is self absorbed and not the brightest. He truly is an idiot!!

Leon Czolgosz
4 months ago
Reply to  Joan

What boggles my mind is that out of all the dems in the primaries- WHY BIDEN?!?!?!

MOCountry
4 months ago
Reply to  Leon Czolgosz

Does the word “puppet” ring a bell??

Kunkleberry99
4 months ago
Reply to  MOCountry

Yeah, it does ring a bell. Biden is a ding-dong.

Fred Turk
4 months ago
Reply to  Leon Czolgosz

Biden polled the best against Trump, though Bernie Sanders was headed for a plurality of delegates.

Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark

The next ‘memorable day’ in their life will be when they finally figure out how much money was wasted and that the government actually has expectations of getting paid back (w/interest) for their really bad investment…

Alan Ball
4 months ago
Reply to  Mark

And I thought I had it bad in 1975 when my commencement speaker bloviated at length about how great Chinese society was and how much better it was than American society!

David P Nelson
4 months ago

The Leadership in our Country is utterly pathetic. We must reverse course in order to survive!

Honey
4 months ago
Reply to  David P Nelson

You had better write letters to Manchin and your congressmen and tell them not to vote for S.1 because if that passes, we will be stuck with” leadership” like this forever and be a one party communist country.

BAE
4 months ago

Kamala Harris the worse; so bad. So she is an idiot, too. But we knew. Might be president; what is going on; can it get crazier?

Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  BAE

Book of Revelation says yes…

Alan Ball
4 months ago
Reply to  BAE

Well, if Biden doesn’t make it through the next four years, then Kamala Harris takes over the presidency. I don’t know which is worse. And if some bizarre twist of fate, neither makes it through the next two (possibly four) years, then Nancy Pelosi becomes acting president! No matter what, with both the legislative and especially the executive branches of the government headed by people like this, this couuntry is going to be in for a really a really bad period !

HocasPocas
4 months ago

Shows the IQ of the last two commencement speakers in your article. About a two

Last edited 4 months ago by HocasPocas
Dave
4 months ago
Reply to  HocasPocas

My, aren’t we charitable…

MOCountry
4 months ago
Reply to  HocasPocas

You’re a generous, kind person!

Alan Ball
4 months ago
Reply to  HocasPocas

As inasupicious as their collective intelligence appears to be, I am more worried about the effect their character has on the country.

Max
4 months ago

It is sad from my perspective as a naval officer that the Commander-in-Chief and his sidekick have no respect for the military services. It is obvious that their speech writers also haven’t a clue about reality. Time for IMPEACHMENT!

Leon Czolgosz
4 months ago
Reply to  Max

I’m curious: if such idiots go too far, can the military step in and stop the madness? If so, at what point does that transpire?

MOCountry
4 months ago
Reply to  Leon Czolgosz

I’m afraid obozo fixed it where our military “leaders” have no intention of honoring their oaths to defend our constitution against all enemies, foreign or DOMESTIC! Just intentionally failing to keep a secure border should be enough to get [email protected] near every dimocrat in Washington that supports it arrested. But we know that’s not gonna happen. (sigh)

Max
4 months ago
Reply to  Leon Czolgosz

The military services ARE NOT PERMANENT! They are and have been renewed on a yearly basis by Congress so if the Congress decides to get rid of the military, they can. We have the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution that says in writing that the people have the right to form militias to deal with a corrupt government administration when needed. So if militias were to be formed to take action against the government, the military could be ordered to put down such an attempted resurrection. This is the one reason that the President puts in senior leadership that support their ideology so they think the military can be controlled by the oaths that are taken to defend the Constitution. Catch 22: if the military was so ordered, would the military follow to put down such an incident? With the influx of illegal immigrants, some of these people join the military, so the military is being filled by people who do not completely know culture and history, so where would these people’s loyalty lie? Revolution/Civil War maybe coming and the consequences will be devastating.

Leon Czolgosz
4 months ago
Reply to  Max

Thank you. Sounds like We the People wouldn’t fare too well, being up against superior warfare & tech. Unless the right people decided to thwart the madness and NOT be a marxist drone to save their retirement.

Max
4 months ago
Reply to  Leon Czolgosz

The question is “Would all the military support action against its people or would the military mutiny? If I remember there was time right after WW 1, that veterans marched on Washington DC to protest an issue that the military was used to prevent bloodshed there.. A hundred years later, what would the results be? The longer time we wait, the chances diminish quickly.

Bill on the Hill
4 months ago
Reply to  Max

I agree Max… Conspiracy theories aside, something has to happen before 2022 gets here, if not, I truly fear for my nation…
Another interesting development is all the US jets flying M/T into Honduras & returning to El Paso, TX, fully loaded with immigrants, processed & flown or bused around the nation…This is NOT being reported on MSM, nor have I seen any reporting on it on my conservative networks. Check out MonkeyWerx, the flights are genuine…
Currently we have in the Pentagon the military brass leadership Biden appointed. Suspicious?, one should be…
General Lloyd Austin, now a civilian & General Millus, both never-Trumpers & by design, both are adherents to WOKE & pushing this crap within the military as I write this…The $64000.00 question is this: Is there another side to the US military that is duty bound to the US Constitution that will protect & serve the American people from both foreign & domestic enemies, including those within the current Federal gov’t?
Bill on the Hill… :~)

Max
4 months ago

One can only hope that there are enough patriots left in the military who will make the choice to honor their commitment to their country and defend against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The last thing this country needs is a military mutiny and/or civil war.

ShellzNCheez
4 months ago
Reply to  Leon Czolgosz

Their ‘superior warfare & tech’ sounds like it will be solar powered, for a zero carb emission. LOL

Leon Czolgosz
4 months ago
Reply to  ShellzNCheez

LOL! Sounds about right!

bernie
4 months ago
Reply to  Max

“Toujours prêt” (Always ready in french), the mindset of the 2nd cavalry regiment since one century, the memory of the d day, and its 77th birtday this year on the french beachs, sad because the covid is not finish in france , much better was the 75th with the president Trump

Karen
4 months ago

Bless you Mike Pompeo!!!!!!

David Spade
4 months ago

What a sharp contrast in the commencement speeches can be seen in this article! The forward looking people who see hope and progress for the graduates, versus the administration of O’Biden who simply speak Marxist non-sense. Leadership versus political morass. Encouragement versus fear. How some of these graduates sat there and listened to O’Biden and Harris is beyond me. They probably should have exited as a protest to the emptiness they were selling.

Bill on the Hill
4 months ago
Reply to  David Spade

That was eloquently written sir as I whole heartedly agree…
Bill on the Hill… :~)

Susabella
4 months ago

The graduates were smart enough to not applaud the idiot speaking to them. Thank goodness they learned well at the Academy. There truly is hope for the future of America.

Denise
4 months ago

Biden & Harris are an embarrassment to this nation! America was the greatest nation on earth, now we are a laughing stock.

bernie
4 months ago
Reply to  Denise

Hi denise, and what to say about the France ,remember the D day

bernie
4 months ago
Reply to  bernie

My favorite american regiment is the 2nd cavalry, since one century for the europ “Toujours prêt” (always ready)

bernie
4 months ago
Reply to  Denise

Interesting my friends this idea that the climate change is the threat, and the solar panel our protection, it s a little like the wind turbines , look the face of the countryside now, but the wind is turning

John fallon
4 months ago

chinajoe and cameltoe are examples of the SWAMP MENTALITY, ignore truth, do anything to enhance your personal wealth and power, sell your soul to the devil, help our enemies to destroy AMERICA, invest in enemy energy companies, destroy AMERICAN ENERGY INDEPENDENCE FOR PERSONAL GAIN, lie, steal, cheat to “win” elections, disrespect the people that made ALL THE SACRIFICES NECESSARY TO ENSURE THIER FREEDOM, FAIL TO HONOR THIER OATHS OF OFFICE TO DEFEND AND PROTECT THE CONSTITUTION AND THE RIGHTS OF THE PEOPLE THEY WERE ELECTED TO SERVE!! PROVE VOTER FRAUD, PUT PEOPLE IN OFFICE WE ACTUALLY VOTED FOR, PUT TRUMP IN THE WHITEHOUSE WERE HE BELONGS AND LET HIM DRAIN THE SWAMP!!!

Bill on the Hill
4 months ago
Reply to  John fallon

Spot on the money… The time is for them to be GONE!
Bill on the Hill… :~)

Chuck
4 months ago

Sad, that liars and cheats get to address the service academies graduates. One of the pillars these young people get impressed upon them is moral ness of purpose and character. Biden and Harris are sorely lacking in these departments. Their addresses showed these deficiencies.

Patriot Will
4 months ago

Even at the military academies, Biden and Harris make it all about being politically correct. Each one of them is shallow and uninspiring, and those are their strong character traits. Our military officers deserve leaders who are strong and patriotic. Ironically, our military is being corrupted by weak incompetents, who care more about social justice than protecting our armed forces.

JohnH
4 months ago

Very disappointed that Kamala Harris feels that climate change is the biggest threat to our security. She needs to look around the world with an open mind.

Skrub
4 months ago
Reply to  JohnH

She might if she had one!

Vickie Rennie
4 months ago
Reply to  JohnH

With a half century of climate predictions, and not one has ever come true. They just keep redrawing the grafts.

HocasPocas
4 months ago
Reply to  JohnH

Yeah, she may want to start at the border. Since she has been appointed the border czar

Elton Yancey
4 months ago
Reply to  HocasPocas

That’ll be the day.

Joyce Gibson
4 months ago

Just goes to show you that the President and Vice President do not understand how the United States of America actually functions. They have no respect for our armed forces and what they done in the past and todays Academy graduates who may be called to bravely fight for our Country.

Ed J
4 months ago

Just another example of how the Joe and the Ho Clown Show is totally out of touch with the American people with their continued rabid and misguided pursuit of their delusional and dystopian ideologies. Their fixation on their distorted views of reality is obsessive compulsive behavior at best and some more profound pathological mental disorder(s) at worst. Neither condition bodes well for America and Americans. Yes, Dorothy, we are not in Kansas anymore, but in some Never-Never-Land that is truly alien to the nation that our Founding Fathers established which has become a beacon to the world for freedom, hope and opportunity.

Bill on the Hill
4 months ago
Reply to  Ed J

Thanks Ed J… Well stated sir…
Bill on the Hill… :~)

Karole
4 months ago

I would have been really upset if my graduate had his or her commencement address given by Joe Biden. Thank you Jimmie Dunne for your inspirational words. I feel sorry for the Naval Academy grads who had to put up with Kamala.

Bill on the Hill
4 months ago
Reply to  Karole

It had to have been a tortious experience for the US Academy graduates to have to sit there & listen to it… They deserved so much better than Kamala Harris as their commencement speaker. Everything about it was so wrong, sadly…
Bill on the Hill… :~)

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