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Best Graduation Speeches of 2012

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Best Graduation Speeches of 2012
Graduation
Photo by Jackie Burrell

If you're anything like my family, you've heard just about every graduation cliche in the book — the Webster's Dictionary quotes, the inevitable "commencement is a beginning, not an end" lines. Fortunately, some people know how to deliver a truly great graduation speech, one that's witty, memorable and inspiring - or at least really amusing. (Hey, no one invites Saturday Night Live's Andy Samberg to speak at Class Day in order to hear a tribute to world peace.)

So, the next time you're stuck listening to some interminable speech - or you need a pithy "As Jane Lynch once said..." quote to jot in a graduation card - think of these excerpts from the best graduation, baccalaureate and class day speeches of 2012, delivered by this roster of notable speakers. Page through or click the quick links below. (And you'll find the five best speeches of 2013 here.)

As for Samberg's speech, it wasn't practical, wise or inspirational - his tips for success included "cut a hole in a box," for heaven's sakes - but it was funny. (You'll find the video on YouTube. But then come on back and read about the good speeches!)

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