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Watch Recent Commencement Speeches From Natalie Portman, John Waters, Denzel Washington, and More

Written by on June 2, 2015 

Natalie Portman Speaks At Harvard's Class Day

Spring is here, which means millions of graduates and their families across the country will be sitting down for various commencement speeches. If they were anything like mine, one will likely not recall more than a few words, but every so often they make for memorable addresses as graduates take that next step. While we’ve already featured what will perhaps be the year’s most memorable, Robert De Niro‘s speech to NYU’s Tisch graduating class, today we’ve rounded up a batch of additional notable ones.

Ranging from all corners of the country, we have some speakers returning to their alma maters, including Natalie Portman at Harvard. John Waters, Denzel Washington, legendary documentarian Ken Burns, acclaimed writer Tony Kushner gave addresses, and for those looking for more comedic speeches, Ed Helms, Maya Rudolph, and Stephen Colbert deliver. There’s also a brief speech from Mark Ruffalo and about half of an extensive, rambling one from Matthew McConaughey, so check out everything below, kicking off with a word from Waters:

I should say right off that I am really qualified to be your commencement speaker. I was suspended from high school, then kicked out of college in the first marijuana scandal ever on a university campus. I’ve been arrested several times. I’ve been known to dress in ludicrous fashions. I’ve also built a career out of negative reviews, and have been called “the prince of puke” by the press. And most recently a title I’m really proud of: “the people’s pervert.” I am honoured to be here today with my people.

John Waters – Rhode Island School of Design

Natalie Portman – Harvard University

Denzel Washington – Dillard University

Maya Rudolph – Tulane University

Ed Helms – University of Virginia

Mark Ruffalo – Dickinson College

Ken Burns – Washington University in St. Louis

Tony Kushner – Ithaca College

Stephen Colbert – Wake Forest University

Matthew McConaughey – University of Houston (Partial)

Which speech was your favorite?

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