Best Celebrity Commencement Speeches 2011 (VIDEOS)

Sheri Reed

Conan O'Brien Dartmouth
Conan O'Brien at Dartmouth
College kids who graduate from the big-name colleges and universities often get a little icing on the cake at their commencement ceremonies. This year's graduates have not only been dazzled by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama at graduation, but some lucky ducks got the star treatment with speeches by Conan O'Brien, Denzel Washington, Amy Poehler, and Tom Hanks, to name a few.

Check out this lineup of the best celebrity commencement speeches we've seen so far this year!

Conan O'Brien at Dartmouth

Best lines:

I must point out that behind me sits a highly admired President of the United States and decorated war hero (President George H. W. Bush) while I, a cable television talk show host, has been chosen to stand here and impart wisdom. I pray I never witness a more damning example of what is wrong with America today. 

Of course, I also LOL'd when he said Dartmouth's eco-chic tree stump podium "looks like something a bear would use at an AA meeting."

Amy Poehler at Harvard

Poehler's reflection about the impact of 9/11 on the childhoods and lives of these graduates moved us to pieces, too, and as always, Poehler delivered a perfect balance of hilariously funny and pitch-perfect heartfeltedness in her speech.

Best line:

No one is here today because they did it on their own ... You’re all here today because someone gave you strength. Helped you. Held you in the palm of their hand. God, Allah, Buddha, Gaga -- whomever you pray to. They have helped you get here, and that should make you feel less alone. And less scared.

Tom Hanks at Yale

We love how Hanks slid in some of this year's best viral video sensations like Maru the Cat, the Talking Twins, and Rebecca Black. Go, Tom. You're cool 2.0 (or your speech writer is!).

Best line:

Later on today, you can compare your tweets or your Facebook comments with those of others to decide if anything memorable went down. Hey, you know what? Tweet that last sentence I just said ...

Denzel Washington at University at Pennsylvania

Washington's speech is nerve-filled and adorable. Loved his memory of a woman telling him at 20 that he would go places, right at the precise time that he thought he wasn't going anywhere.

Best line:

We love when Washington says, "Do you have the guts to fail? If you don't fail, you're not even trying." Wise words. Wise words.

Whose 2011 commencement speech was your favorite?


Image via YouTube

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