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PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 17: Bono, lead singer and songwriter for the rock group U2 and a social-justice activist, receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at the 248th Commencement of the University of Pennsylvania, on May 17, 2004 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Bono co-founded the organization Debt AIDS Trade Africa in 2002 together with activists from the Jubilee 2000 Drop the Debt campaign. DATA's main objective is to raise public awareness and action in the United States and other wealthy nations against AIDS and poverty in Africa.

‘Tis the season…graduation season, that is.

With many of us likely attending graduation parties or ceremonies in the coming weeks, there’s a good chance many entertainment figures will be making headlines for delivering commencement speeches. In honor of graduation season, check out these four great commencement speeches from some of the biggest names in rock.

Bono (University of Pennsylvania, 2004)

Weird ginger hair phase aside, Bono was self-deprecating and uplifting.  He told the graduates, “That’s what this degree of yours is, a blunt instrument.  So go forth and build something with it.  Remember what John Adams said about Ben Franklin, ‘He does not hesitate at our boldest Measures but rather seem to think us too irresolute.’  Well, this is the time for bold measures.  This is the country, and you are the generation.”

Jon Bon Jovi (Rutgers University Camden, 2015)

JBJ delivered a moving speech in which he said, “Class is over, learning isn’t.  Your diploma is a key – to open doors of possibility not only for yourselves, but for others.”  However, he also wrote the graduating class a song for them.


Alice Cooper (Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, 2012)

While we kind of wished Alice would’ve been in full stage makeup and costume during his speech, Alice still delivered an incredible speech with this brilliant reminder:  “If you succeed, you become a genius.  If you fail, you become an idiot.  You can always start again.”


Annie Lennox (Berklee College of Music, 2013)

The Berklee College of Music is one of the most prestigious arts institutions in the United States, so they have significant pull when it comes to getting amazing commencement speakers.  Annie Lennox’s address in 2013, however, is one of the standouts in recent years especially with insight like, “Consider this, wherever you think you’re heading right now might turn out to take a completely different path.  What looks like an ending might actually be the start of a brand new beginning.”

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights

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