Graduation Quotes

I hope you enjoy this collection of graduation quotes and find just the right quote to capture your sentiments for the the new graduate.

Graduation Quotes Index

About Education
About Graduation
After Graduation
Good Advice
Graduation Blessing
Graduation Irony
Never Stop Learning
Parents of Graduates

About Education

"The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet."
~ Aristotle

"An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest."
~ Author unknown, commonly attributed to Benjamin Franklin

"Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten."
~ B.F. Skinner

"The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"The one real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions."
~ Bishop Mandell Creighton

"The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows."
~ Sydney J. Harris

"If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!"
~ Andy McIntyre

"Education is the best provision for old age."
~ Aristotle

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About Graduation

"Graduation is only a concept. In real life every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you'll make a difference."
~ Arie Pencovici

"The tassel's worth the hassle!"
~ Author Unknown

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After Graduation

"Just about a month from now I'm set adrift, with a diploma for a sail and lots of nerve for oars."
~ Richard Halliburton

"All that stands between the graduate and the top of the ladder is the ladder."
~ Author Unknown

"People will frighten you about a graduation.... They use words you don't hear often: 'And we wish you Godspeed.' It is a warning, Godspeed. It means you are no longer welcome here at these prices."
~ Bill Cosby

"The truth is, I was afraid the day I walked into Stanford. And I was afraid the day I walked out."
~ Carly Fiorina

"School's out, Memories past, Don't ever doubt, Our friendship will last."
~ Unknown

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Approaching the Future

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."
~ Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles," 1992 (commonly misattributed to Nelson Mandela, 1994 inauguration speech)

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"There is a good reason they call these ceremonies "commencement exercises." Graduation is not the end; it's the beginning."
~ Orrin Hatch

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Good Advice

"My favorite animal is the turtle. The reason is that in order for the turtle to move, it has to stick its neck out. There are going to be times in your life when you’re going to have to stick your neck out. There will be challenges and instead of hiding in a shell, you have to go out and meet them!"
~ Ruth Westheimers

"Wherever you go, go with all your heart."
~ Confucius

"In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later."
~ Harold Geneen

"Put your future in good hands - your own."
~ Author Unknown

"You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You're on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the guy who'll decide where to go."
~ Dr. Seuss

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
~ Quoted in P.S. I Love You, compiled by H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."
~ Les Brown

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."
~ Albert Einstein

"Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine."
~ Anthony J. D'Angelo, The College Blue Book

"Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures."
~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr., Life's Little Instruction Book

"We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails."
~ Author Unknown

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"There is just one life for each of us: our own."
~ Euripides

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else."
~ Judy Garland

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
~ Dr. Seuss

"Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn't always have to be their top priority."
~ William Arthur Ward

"The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed."
~ Henry Ford

"Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"If opportunity doesn't knock, build a door."
~ Milton Berle

"There are no shortcuts to any place worth going."
~ Beverly Sills

"Whenever it is possible, a boy should choose some occupation which he should do even if he did not need the money."
~ William Lyon Phelps

"My father always told me, "Find a job you love and you'll never have to work a day in your life."
~ Jim Fox

"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."
~ John Wooden

"The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit."
~ Nelson Henderson

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Graduation Blessing

"I hope your dreams take you to the corners of your smiles, to the highest of your hopes, to the windows of your opportunities, and to the most special places your heart has ever known."
~ Author Unknown

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Graduation Irony

"It is indeed ironic that we spend our school days yearning to graduate and our remaining days waxing nostalgic about our school days."
~ Isabel Waxman

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"A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that 'individuality' is the key to success."
~ Robert Orben

"Your families are extremely proud of you. You can't imagine the sense of relief they are experiencing. This would be a most opportune time to ask for money."
~ Gary Bolding

"At commencement you wear your square-shaped mortarboards. My hope is that from time to time you will let your minds be bold, and wear sombreros."
~ Paul Freund

"A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car; but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad."
~ Theodore Roosevelt

"Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated."
~ Garry Trudeau

"I learned law so well, the day I graduated I sued the college, won the case, and got my tuition back."
~ Fred Allen

"The purpose of a liberal education is to make you philosophical enough to accept the fact that you will never make much money."
~ Author Unknown

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"Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught."
~ Oscar Wilde, "The Critic as Artist," 1890

"Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude."
~ Ralph Marston

"It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves."
~ Edmund Hillary

"The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder."
~ Ralph W. Sockman

"The best helping hand that you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm."
~ Fred Dehner

"Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal."
~ Henry Ford

"Keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final."
~ Roger Babson

"You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can't get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you're doing, but what you'll discover will be wonderful. What you'll discover will be yourself."
~ Alan Alada

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"The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse."
~ Edward Koch

"You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world."
~ Tom Brokaw

"The future lies before you
Like a field of driven snow,
Be careful how you tread it,
For every step will show."
~ Author Unknown

"Hitch your wagon to a star."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Spread joy. Chase your wildest dreams."
~ Patch Adams

"Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out."
~ Art Linkletter

"A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds."
~ Francis Bacon, Essays, 1625

"Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps."
~ David Lloyd George

"What we are is God's gift to us. What we become is our gift to God."
~ Eleanor Powell

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Never Stop Learning

"Your schooling may be over, but remember that your education still continues."
~ Author Unknown

"The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after."
~ Newton D. Baker

"Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors!"
~ Louisa May Alcott

"You cannot help but learn more as you take the world into your hands. Take it up reverently, for it is an old piece of clay, with millions of thumbprints on it."
~ John Updike

"The important thing is not to stop questioning."
~ Albert Einstein

"The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate."
~ Doug Larson

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Parents of Graduates

"Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed."
~ Erma Bombeck

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"During my second year of nursing school our professor gave us a quiz. I breezed through the questions until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?" Surely this was a joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Before the class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our grade. "Absolutely," the professor said. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say hello." I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy."
~ Joann C. Jones

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."
~ Henry S. Haskins, Meditations in Wall Street, 1940, commonly misattributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson (Thanks, Garson O'Toole!)

"Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant."
~ Robert Louis Stevenson

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The Dash

It's not the date you were born, or the date you died, that really matters. It's "the dash" between those years and what you do with it, to make a difference with your life.