Broadcast Monday, June 8, 2009
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor:
Well, it's that time. There is a good chance that you've recently celebrated a graduation among family or friends. It's been a busy commencement season for the class of 2009. Tonight we have one of our annual favorites here at NIGHTLY NEWS, the very best of the send-offs, the commencement speakers with important messages for this year's class and, for that matter, for all of us.
Unidentified Man #1: How's this look?
Unidentified Woman #1: Listen up, we're going in.
Unidentified Man #2: I've been here too long. It's my time.
Unidentified Man #3: It's a good time to graduate.
Ms. LAURA BUSH (Southern Methodist University): Today begins a period of incredible liberty and adventure, a time to find your calling and to demand the most of life before life makes specific demands on you.
Mr. DESMOND TUTU (Anglican Archbishop Emeritus): Go on dreaming! Go on being the idealistic people you are. Go on being the ones who believe that poverty can indeed be made history.
Unidentified Woman #2: The last four years have been in--pretty incredible.
Unidentified Man #4: Amazing.
Unidentified Woman #3: It's just an awesome experience.
Mr. TOM BROKAW (NBC News, College of William and Mary): We may not have given you a perfect world, but we have given you dynamic opportunities for leaving a lasting legacy as a generation that was fearless and imaginative, tireless and selfless in pursuit of solutions to these monumental problems.
Ms. GWEN IFILL (PBS, Howard University): You do not have to be bound by your race or by other people's perception of what it means that you are who you are. I don't wake up every morning and say, `Oh, darn, I'm black again. Shucks.' I wake up ever day happy to have another day to be me again.
President BARACK OBAMA (University of Notre Dame): Have confidence in the values with which you've been raised and educated. Be unafraid to speak your mind when those values are at stake. Hold firm to your faith and allow it to guide you on your journey.
Ms. LAURA LINNEY (Actress, The Julliard School): I hope you never ever read your own reviews, good ones or bad ones. It is not a critic's job to tell you how to feel about your own work.
Mr. SCOTT COWEN (University President, Tulane University): Four years ago, the Super Dome, this very building we are in today, was a symbol of every social, political and human failure exposed by Hurricane Katrina. Now I look across this ocean of blue and green, and I see instead a living symbol of how belief and determination can turn darkness to light.
Ms. ELLEN DeGENERES (Comedian, Tulane University): You've already survived a hurricane. What else can happen to you? And as I mentioned before, some of the most devastating things that happen to you will teach you the most. And now you know the right--the right questions to ask for your first job interview, like, `Is it above sea level?'
Unidentified Woman #4: The most important thing I've learned is that I can accomplish anything I want.
Unidentified Man #5: Work hard.
Unidentified Man #6: Listen to your mom.
Unidentified Woman #5: I love you, mom!
Ms. MICHELLE OBAMA (University of California Merced): Remember that you are blessed. Remember that in exchange for those blessings, you must give something back. You must reach back and pull someone up.
Mr. ELIE WIESEL (Human Rights Activist, Bucknell University): There must be on this planet at least one person who needs you, one person you can help. Don't turn away. Help.
Unidentified Woman #6: I'm going to miss this place. It's--there's something magical about it.
Congratulations Class of 2009
WILLIAMS: The work of producer Christina Vallice and videotape editor Maggie Kassner, who started this project with 235 videotapes and lost count after that. Great work. Good luck to the class of '09.