To the Class of 2020: The Best Quotes From This Year’s Virtual Commencement Speeches

UPDATED: May 22, 2024
PUBLISHED: May 22, 2020
2020 Virtual Commencement

Class of 2020, it’s finally your time! The end of your senior year has come, and although it may look different than you thought it would, you did it!

Hats off to you, graduates. We recognize the hard work, dedication, resilience and grit that carried you through both your education and these unprecedented times. You should be proud.

To celebrate your accomplishments, we’ve gathered our favorite motivational quotes from this year’s virtual commencement ceremonies so far. Read, enjoy and be proud!

“Your passion, your vision, those ideas you have inside of you, there will never be a better time to chase them. So while you’re sitting there talking about what you’re going to do, while you’re sitting there dreaming about how you can change things…I don’t want you to hesitate. I want you to go out there and do it. I want you to say to yourself, ‘Why not me?’… Why can’t you be the one to change the world?” – Mark Cuban

“It’s important to not take things in life so seriously... You don’t have to know what’s going to happen next, you just have to put one foot forward and keep marching.” - Adam Devine Click To Tweet

“You’re going to make mistakes, you’re supposed to, that’s how all of this works. I think one of the mistakes I made was assuming that I should’ve always had the answers at any given point. We’re not always supposed to know.” -… Click To Tweet

“It’s not the moments of achievement or recognition that stick with you, it’s the getting there.” - Kristen Bell Click To Tweet

“It’s been said that one note does not make a symphony. One artist does not make an orchestra. Graduates, life is the ultimate ensemble cast – an orchestra, not a solo act. And through trial and error, victory and defeat, ups and downs, we learn how to make harmony. How to balance our hopes for ourselves, with our responsibilities to others. How to be your best you, by bringing out the very best in those around you.” – Jennifer Garner

“Think what you’ve done, think what you’ve achieved, and more importantly, think what you’ve got ahead of you… So get that first foot on the ladder… Stay focused, stay humble, stay hungry, and enjoy it.” - Chef Gordon Ramsey Click To Tweet

“You are part of a generation who has the resources to band together to impart a positive change, globally... Be good to one another. Be strong for one another. Get out there and you show us all what that positive future of yours… Click To Tweet

“You can live a life that you’ve always dreamed about, but the important thing is, you have to focus on the dream. This thing that you keep imagining of being, this thing that wakes you up in the middle of the night, don’t ever shut that off… You’ve got to lock in on that dream and never give up.” – Steve Harvey

“As an athlete, there is nothing quite like the bus ride home after a win. You’re exhausted and could probably use a shower… but bottom line, you’re happy because you nailed it. Well graduates, today is your bus ride home, your victory lap… I know you’re missing what was supposed to be your medal ceremony, but that ceremony doesn’t change a thing. You’ve already won.” – Simone Biles

“You’re going to continue to learn for the rest of your life. The big learning is coming in the future for you, I promise you. The experiential learning, where you get to put what you’ve learned in school to task. This is when it gets fun. This is when it gets hard. Don’t bother yourself too much if you’re not quite sure what you want to do in life… Live in a way now where you can look back later and say, ‘I think I handled that pretty well.’” – Matthew McConaughey

“Sincerity is in short supply these days. It’s pretty rare but very valuable. It’s also very vulnerable… Once you start practicing being sincere, you start knowing what you mean sooner and better in every situation.” - John Mayer Click To Tweet

“While this may feel like a daunting time to begin this next chapter, it is also a moment when the world desperately needs your skills and your creativity. Whatever path you decide to take, I hope you use the education you’ve received to contribute to a healthier, more equal future.” – Melinda Gates

“We know this wasn’t how you pictured your graduation, but instead, you have done something remarkable. You have earned your diploma in one of the most challenging times in our lifetime. And unlike any graduation ever before, the entire world is with you today to throw a hat in the air, and celebrate this accomplishment.” – Sheryl Sandberg

“I know you may not feel like it, but you are indeed the chosen class for such a time as this… You’re also a united class, the pandemic class that has the entire world striving to graduate with you. Of course, this is not the graduation ceremony you envisioned… But even though there may not be pomp because of our circumstances, never has a graduating class been called to step into the future with more purpose, vision, passion, and energy, and hope… I wish I could tell you I know the path forward. I don’t. There is so much uncertainty. In truth, there always has been. What I do know is that the same guts and imagination that got you to this moment — all those things are the very things that are going to sustain you through whatever is coming. It’s vital that you learn, and we all learn, to be at peace with the discomfort of stepping into the unknown. It’s really OK to not have all the answers. The answers will come for sure, if you can accept not knowing long enough to get still and stay still long enough for new thoughts to take root in your more quiet, deeper, truer self. The noise of the world drowns out the sound of you. You have to get still to listen.” – Oprah Winfrey

“As you get older, your interests and your skills will evolve. My advice is to be open to change. Don't be afraid to try something new.” - Bill Gates Click To Tweet

“Take care of yourself. Many of you might be feeling stuck right now, and I know how that feels. Figure out what makes you feel good, motivated and healthy. For me, that’s drinking water, exercising as soon as I get up, and eating nourishing foods. Which I believe absolutely helps your mood, and your brain. For you, it could be anything. Do that push up challenge. Take a walk. Hold a plank. Whatever works for you.” – Bobbi Brown

“Disruption often inspires innovation. Look around, pay attention and imagine how our new reality will transform the world around us.” - Katie Couric Click To Tweet

“This disruption may be just what we didn’t know we needed to shake off the rest of old ideas and blaze ahead with a new plan. You don’t need to follow the rules. There are no rules. Follow your heart. Create the new rules. Stay well. Stay strong. And remember at the end of the storm, comes a rainbow, even if you can’t see it yet.” – Kesha

“The key to success, the key to happiness is opening your mind and your heart to love, spending your time doing things you love with people you love. I believe that during uncertain and trying times, we must lean on love to show us our clearest path forward and that when you trust what your heart is telling you, love will be your North Star.” – John Legend

“Whatever you choose, do it fully with a passion and a childlike enthusiasm. You don't want to go through the motions. It usually fails anyway, and it's not as much fun.” - Dr. Oz Click To Tweet

“These hard and uncomfortable times do not define our identity. The only thing a trial like this can show us is what we're made of, and you are everything amazing and phenomenal. It's not about a perfect performance, but a sincere… Click To Tweet

“Class of 2020, I know the last thing you want to hear right now is ‘stay home.’ That’s not my message to you. My message is, stay close to home. Maybe not physically but in every other way possible. Pursue every ambition, go as far as you can possibly dream and be the first generation to embrace a new responsibility: a responsibility to rebuild your community.” – LeBron James

“If the world is going to get better it’s going to be up to you... Nobody can tell you anymore that you should be waiting your turn, nobody can tell you anymore that this is how it’s always been done. More than ever this is your… Click To Tweet

“It’s not always as easy as deciding to be happy or deciding to do what’s right… It takes even more work, drive, confidence and resources and the ability to go on even when there are those who will tell you it’s not possible, you shouldn’t, you couldn’t. – Gal Gadot

“There are going to be bad times in life, like what’s happening right now…. In my life, I’ve been through some incredible highs and some tremendous lows, and the one thing that’s true about both of them is that they pass. So cherish the good times, and in the bad times, remember that they won’t last forever. It does get better.” – Ellen DeGeneres

Related: 25 of the Most Inspirational Graduation Quotes

Photo by @Stephanie.kauffman/

Madison Pieper is the Multimedia Content Producer for SUCCESS. With a degree in journalism from Southern Methodist University, she has a passion for creative storytelling both on and off the camera. Outside of work, Madison loves figure skating, fashion and spending time with her friends and family.