Hollywood Stars Offer Graduation Advice to Class of 2016, From Ryan Seacrest to Oprah (Videos)
Watch some of the most A-list commencement addresses
Jeremy Fuster | May 16, 2016 @ 9:40 PM
Last Updated: May 16, 2016 @ 10:06 PM
"Ghostbusters" director Paul Feig gave a nugget of sage advice to the grads of USC's School of Cinematic Arts on May 13: Respect your actors, respect your colleagues, respect your audience, and above all... "Don't be an a--hole."
Ryan Seacrest went to the University of Georgia as a freshman before leaving to start his career in Hollywood. 24 years later, he returned to UGA for the May 13 commencement to implore grads to trust their gut instinct and to "make sure you happen to the day instead of it happening to you."
Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson returned to his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin, on May 14 to talk with grads about what to do when "life tells you no."
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar had no time for platitudes during his Drew University speech on May 14. He urged the graduates to ignore the idea that they will "change the world," as that will only lead to cynicism and bitterness when they only make small steps toward progress.
Broadway actor-composer Lin-Manuel Miranda apologized to the crowd at the University of Pennsylvania's commencement on May 16 for only mentioning Philadelphia in one throwaway line in his Pulitzer-winning hit musical "Hamilton." He also urged them to not buy into anti-immigrant rhetoric, noting that one of the core messages of "Hamilton" is that immigrants are a key part of the American experience.
"Hamilton" also played a part in Rita Moreno's speech at the Berklee College of Music on May 7, as it inspired her to turn her speech into a rap: "Your talent may be terrific, your writing prolific, but do you have the motivation to use your creation for this generation?”
Former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw encouraged Ole Miss grads on May 14 to embrace the opportunities provided by the Internet, but to also remember that "no text will ever replace the first kiss."
On May 15, Duke grads heard from the school's legendary basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski. Unlike the other speakers on this list, Coach K couldn't get an honorary degree from Duke on the technicality that he's employed by the university.
At the University of Montana's commencement on May 14, J.K. Simmons repeated his request from his Oscar speech last year for everyone to call their parents. He also asked the grads to please stop using the word "literally" all the time.
Rock legend Gregg Allman left the speaking duties at Mercer University's commencement on May 14 to Jimmy Carter, but he did serenade the grads with a special performance of his song, "Midnight Rider."
Oprah Winfrey spoke at North Carolina's Johnson C. Smith University, where two grads were students from her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. "Every stumble is not a fall, and every fall does not mean failure," the OWN boss said. "Failure is God's way of moving you in another direction."