Like a college graduation, 2016 is in many ways a turning point. This year brings the culmination of a two-term Obama presidency as well as a general election in the fall. Tech companies are maturing as new ideas and trends come to the forefront. Civil rights movements have achieved major milestones but there is still work to be done. A man has just returned from a year in space, and his experience will inform future missions beyond Earth’s orbit.
Newly minted graduates must make difficult decisions and navigate problems their parents and grandparents never anticipated. But they have more opportunities to do great things than any class or generation in history. To help new grads rise to their challenges and responsibilities, these accomplished leaders donned regalia and reflected on what it takes to realize one’s full potential in the world today (this post will be updated).
1. Sheryl SandbergSAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOVEMBER 03: Sheryl Sandberg on a panel at the Fortune Global Forum - Day2 at the Fairmont Hotel on November 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Kimberly White/Getty Images for Fortune) Kimberly White / Stringer | Getty /images Title/Company: Lean In Commencement:
Lesson: Be resilient in the face of adversity.
Quote: “When the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are -- and you just might become the very best version of yourself.” (Read the full transcript of Sandberg's speech here.)
2. Beth Brooke-MarciniakDANA POINT, CA - OCTOBER 10: Global Vice Chair of Public Policy for Ernst & Young Beth Brooke-Marciniak addresses the audience at the espnW: Women + Sports Summit on October 10, 2014 in Dana Point, California. (Photo by Mpu Dinani/Getty Images) Mpu Dinani / Contributor | Getty images Title/Company: EY Commencement: Lesson: Quote:
3. Steve HarveyMIAMI BEACH, FL - JANUARY 20: Steve Harvey attends NATPE 2016 at Fontainebleau Miami Beach on January 20, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida. (Photo by Aaron Davidson/Getty Images) Title/Company: Commencement: Lesson: Quote:
4. Barack ObamaHANOVER, GERMANY - APRIL 24: U.S. President Barack Obama attends a press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) on April 24, 2016 in Hanover, Germany. Obama is in the city to visit the Hanover Messe, the world's biggest industrial fair, featuring around 6,500 exhibitors. The trip is likely his last to the country as president. Adam Berry / Stringer | Getty Images Title/Company: Commencement: Lesson: Quote: “
5. Michelle ObamaAUSTIN, TX - MARCH 16: First Lady Michelle Obama speaks on stage during the SXSW Keynote: Michelle Obama during 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Austin Convention Center on March 16, 2016 in Austin, Texas. Neilson Barnard | Getty Images Title/Company: Commencement: Lesson:
Quote: “Remember that decades from now, someone will be standing here where I’m standing today and they will be telling that new class of graduates about all of you. So we’re counting on you to live lives worthy of retelling, lives that will inspire our next generation to keep walking that path to righteousness and doing the work to fulfill that dream.”
6. Scott KellyZHEZKAZGAN, KAZAKHSTAN - MARCH 2: In this handout provided by NASA, Expedition 46 Commander Scott Kelly of NASA rest in a chair outside of the Soyuz TMA-18M spacecraft just minutes after he and Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko and Sergey Volkov of Roscosmos landed in a remote area on March 2, 2016 near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan. Kelly and Kornienko completed an International Space Station record year-long mission to collect valuable data on the effect of long duration weightlessness Bill Ingalls | NASA via Getty Images Title/Company: Commencement: Lesson: Quote:
7. Wayne ChangDavid L Ryan | The Boston Globe via Getty Images Title/Company: Commencement: Lesson: Quote:
8. Lin-Manuel MirandaNEW YORK, NY - MAY 04: Lin-Manuel Miranda attends the 2016 Tony Awards Meet The Nominees Press Junket at Diamond Horseshoe at the Paramount Hotel on May 4, 2016 in New York City. Matthew Eisman | Getty Images Title/Company: In the Heights Hamilton Commencement: Lesson: Quote: