Thank you for ... this doctorate you're going to give me. Now I can get out of this dead-end job.
—BILLY JOEL at Syracuse University
When I [agreed to speak], little did I know this would be such a unique moment in time: a time of ending, a new beginning ... but enough about me. Let's talk about you.
—KATIE COURIC, who's leaving NBC's Today for The CBS Evening News, at the University of Oklahoma
[In college] I was dating this girl who decided it was time to call her parents and tell them she was gay. She said ... "I'm gay, and I'm dating a musician." And there was a long silence.... They said, "It's not that [you're gay]—but really, honey, a musician?"
—MELISSA ETHERIDGE at Berklee College of Music
[I] barely made it out of high school. [Now] I stand up here as a doctor. I ask that somebody send the photos to the principal at Plano East Senior High.
—Honorary doctor LANCE ARMSTRONG at Tufts University
People in my line of work don't do hats. Gotta be on the air in about seven hours. Can't have hat hair.
—NBC Nightly News' BRIAN WILLIAMS at Seton Hall University
I'm certainly not asking anyone to run out and burn down City Hall.... I simply advocate ... being involved citizens. Don't ever be afraid to ask the question "Why?"
—VIGGO MORTENSEN at St. Lawrence University
I expected to come, bow, wave, smile.... Then I read the fine print ... and discovered that I also had to have something to say. I'm not accustomed to making up my own lines.
—Law & Order's SAM WATERSTON at Green Mountain College
I tried to remember [my graduation], but I couldn't recall who had given the address at the University of Texas in 1973.... Imagine my surprise when I discovered it was some guy named George Bush. Four years [later] I married his son. We never know where life is going to take us.
—LAURA BUSH at Vanderbilt University
I heard everyone was going to be wearing robes
, onstage in a white bathrobe, at Tulane University
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow; this opportunity comes once in a lifetime
—JODIE FOSTER at the University of Pennsylvania, quoting Eminem
Let's face it—you had to practice on somebody. So to all of you family members who were literally pincushions, we salute you
—AL ROKER, to acupuncture and massage-therapy graduates, at New York College of Health Professions