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2014 Commencement: Two Speakers, And Three Ideas

Flickr/Creative Commons

There are a lot of interesting people coming to the Triangle this weekend and in the coming weeks to wish our graduates well.

Giving a graduation speech is an art. Will any of the speakers match the power of Steve Jobs' 2005 address to the Stanford graduates?

"Your time is limited," he told them. "So don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition."

(His speech now has 20 million views on YouTube.)

Or perhaps the speakers will go for humor.

Ellen DeGeneres rocked her 2009 speech at Tulane University.

"Follow your passion," she said. "Stay true to yourself, never follow someone else's path unless you're in the woods and you're lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that."

We are a sports-obsessed community.  Perhaps the speakers could look to sports metaphors. Former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes captivated the audience with such advice.

"In football we always said that the other team couldn't beat us. We had to be sure that we didn't beat ourselves. And that's what people have to do, too--make sure they don't beat themselves," he said.

Susan Mboya
Credit Meredith College
Susan Mboya

Susan Mboya, Coca-Cola executive will be at Meredith College this weekend. Mboya is president of The Coca-Cola Africa Foundation and Coca-Cola’s Group director for Women’s Economic Empowerment for Eurasia and Africa.

She has spoken in the past about how she rose through the business ranks, particularly the importance of finding a mentor.

“I didn’t get this way by myself. I had the global CEO of Procter & Gamble as a mentor. I was a terrible public speaker and at one point my mentor just said to me this thing is going to get in your way unless you fix it. There were training courses I could do, and I did and now that is actually one of my strengths."

Darryl Scriven is coming to St. Augustine's this weekend. His personal story is compelling:

Born in Jacksonville, FL to a single mom in a neighborhood situated between two housing projects, Doc saw drugs and violence ruin the lives of many of his peers. Determined that his life would be different, Doc became one of the top baseball players in the city and earned a full academic scholarship to Florida A&M University. Yet during finals week of his sophomore year, his mother had a stroke. The next semester, Doc moved his mother and 12 year old sister to Tallahassee with him and graduated magna cum laude with degrees in Mathematics, Philosophy and Religion two years later. Doc went on to earn Master's and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University in Philosophy which he also completed in record time.

He has spoken in the past directly to graduates.

"You're not going to be the only qualified applicant. I wasn't the only qualified applicant. When you meet recruiters, you're not going to be the only one rocking St. John's knit suits, ladies, or Hugo Boss suits with power ties. So what makes you stand out? What makes you unique?" he asks.

See who else is speaking at area commencements.

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