Florida State University John William Ferrell Commencement Speaker Paper

Discuss who you would like to be your commencement speaker and why? Research and find a commencement speech that moves you and explain what they did that made you feel this way. When writing your discussion, sure to include examples from the assigned readings/videos (In addition, you may also include personal experiences).


Ellen at Tulane Commencement 2009 (Links to an external site.)Ellen at Tulane Commencement 2009

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I would like my commencement speaker to be comedian and famous talk show host Ellen DeGeneres. Growing up, I have always admired Ellen and the way she, is not only funny, but bold and fearless. To become who she is today, Ellen had to overcome many obstacles in her way, mostly for being a woman in the male-run comedy industry and for being part of the LGBTQ community.

Being the keynote speaker at the Tulane University’s 2009 Commencement, Ellen shared some of her struggles that led to her becoming a comedian (University, T). After facing the aftermath of her girlfriend’s tragic death, Ellen decided to turn and deal with her sadness by becoming a comedian. It seems like the the majority of keynote speakers like to use themselves as an example to demonstrate how even though life can bring you down you have the option to continue striving forward. Like for example, Steve Jobs commencement speech at Stanford University talked about Jobs’s struggle after being a college dropout and later after he was fired from Apple (University, S). Similarly to Steve Jobs, Ellen shared how she continued to pursue her dreams even after her show was cancelled soon after she came out to the public as a gay woman. Both of these keynote speakers use their comeback stories to inspire the graduating class to not be afraid of life’s misfortune, and that they should never give up on the path that makes them happy.

Having Ellen DeGeneres as a commencement speaker would be an amazing opportunity to get to see her live for free (it is really hard to get on her show), and it would be a fun experience to get to see her make jokes designed just for your graduating class.


University, T. (2010, March 4). Ellen at Tulane Commencement 2009. Accessed Sep. 18, 2019.

University, S. (2005). Steve Jobs Stanford Commencement Speech. Accessed Sep. 18, 2019.

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