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Celebrities and leaders share life lessons with the Class of 2017

May 31, 2017 at 6:20 PM EDT
In our NewsHour Shares moment of the day, if it's graduation season, then it means that politicians, actors and industry leaders are imparting sage advice and some humor to college grads around the country. We listen in to commencement speeches from Will Farrell, Mike Pence, Helen Mirren, Octavia Spencer, Hillary Clinton and more.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Now to our NewsHour Shares, something that caught our eye, that may be of interest to you, too.

It’s graduation season, and that means politicians, actors and industry leaders are imparting sage advice and some humor to college graduates around the country.

Take a look.

WILL FERRELL, Actor: I would like to say thank you, graduates, for that warm welcome. I would also like to apologize to all the parents who are sitting there, saying, Will Ferrell, why Will Ferrell?


WILL FERRELL: I hate Will Ferrell.


MAZ JOBRANI, Comedian: Tip one, always tip.


MAZ JOBRANI: Preferably 20 percent, if you can. I believe in karma and that what you put out in the world will come back to you, but it also feels good. And, besides, being stingy sucks and nobody likes you.

VICE PRESIDENT MIKE PENCE: Write your own story, right now, in your mind. See it and go live it. Write a historic and heroic story of service and selflessness and leadership, and then make it happen.

OCTAVIA SPENCER, Actress: When you’re starting out in your career, it is important that you say yes more than you say no. It lets you uncover new opportunities and it reveals new relationships. But when it’s time to say no, say it loudly and firmly. There will be occasions when saying no is necessary to maintaining your values and your self-worth.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Following your convictions means you must be willing to face criticism from those who lack the same courage to do what is right. And they know what is right, but they don’t have the courage or the guts or the stamina to take it and to do it.

HELEN MIRREN, Actress: For the moments when you are challenged by other fears, like, oh, am I good enough, am I smart enough, will I fail, throw caution to the winds. Look fear straight away in its ugly face, and barge forward. And when you get past it, turn around, give it a good swift kick in the ass.

FORMER VICE PRESIDENT JOSEPH BIDEN: Treat people with dignity. You demand it for yourself. You demand that you be treated that way. And all of us, all of us have to do better when it comes to building the bonds of empathy, that folks who aren’t like us, aren’t like us, can know we understand them.

DAVEED DIGGS, Actor: The best advice that I can give to those of you who are worried about the when of the rest of your life is stop tripping. I’m sure you will all have long lists of accomplishments and multiple rebirths. Some of you will have accomplishments that are asked to speak at colleges or other prestigious institutions. Dope. Do that.


FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON: So, whatever your dreams are today, dream even bigger. Wherever you have set your sights, raise them even higher. And, above all, keep going. Don’t do it because I asked you to. Do it for yourselves.

KATHRYN THORNTON, Former NASA Astronaut: And to our graduates, to whom we are trusting nothing less than the future of the human race, I will share with you the astronaut’s prayer. It goes: Dear lord, please don’t let me mess up. Amen.


KATHRYN THORNTON: Good luck and Godspeed, class of 2017.


JUDY WOODRUFF: Great advice, all of that.