Craig Thompson Graduation Speech – Video & Transcript

by DataEntry on December 18, 2010

Craig Thompson Graduation Speech Transcript:

Somebody said that it couldn’t be done. They, with a chuckle, replied that it maybe it couldn’t but they would be the ones who wouldn’t say so until they tried. So the buckled right in with a trace of a grin on their faces if they worried they hid it.They started to sing as they tackled the thing that could be doneand they did. Somebody scoffed, “You’ll never do that. At least no one has ever done itbut they picked up their pens and they picked up their books and the next thing you know they’ve begun it. With a lift of their chins in a bit of a brain without any worry acquitted. They started to sing as they tackled the thing that couldn’t be done and they did it. There’s a thousand to tell you it cannot be done. There are thousands that prophesy a failure. There’s a thousand to point out to you one by one the dangers that wait to assail you. But just lift up your chins with a bit of a grin. Just take off your coat and go to it and you’ll start to sing as you tackled the thing that couldn’t be done and you’ll do it.

Good evening everyone, distinguished platform guests, faculty, staff, friends, family, and people standing against the walls and most important to the class of 2010! This is a very exciting time. I am very excited to be here but let’s do this.Everyone around the Comcast center, let’s stand up to give the class 2010 a big round of applause.

This is an extremely important time in your lives and I’m extremely excited to be here to join you in this ceremony.When I received a phone call several weeks ago and asked to join you, the caller said “Craig, you’re a lawyer.” I am, “and clearly as lawyer you believe and understand the tenants of free speech.” Of course I believe in free speech. They said, “Good because the students want you to give one on December18. Whenthey told me what it was for, I said “Of course.”

As a lawyer i get a chance to travel around, not only for cases that I handle but also to give lectures. Several of weeks ago I happened to take a trip to Atlanta, not a long trip but it’s a trip that gave me a chance to write whileI was on the plane. I had a window seat and the person who was sitting next to me in the middle seat was from England and had a very strong accent. The person who was sitting next to him was from Germany and spoke three distinct languages. He spoke German, spoke Spanish, and spoke English. When people fly, there are some people who need sedatives and some people take pills some people take drops and when the flight attendant came through and asked if anyone needed a sedative the person sitting next to me said “Yes, I’ll have a Budweiser.”

Class of 2010, I know that none of you know this but alcohol has a way of bringing out the philosopher in people. It has a very strange way of compelling you to ask extremely profound questions thatyou can’t remember the next day and so after the second sedative that this gentleman had, he learned that the gentleman from Germanyspoke three distinct languages. The sedative kicked in. “You speak German?”

He said “Yes.” “and you speakSpanish?” He said “Yes.” “and you speak English?” He said “Yes.”

Then the sedative told him to ask him “What language do you think in?” Remember, I’m taking notes I thought that was a good question. The gentleman looked at him and he said “It depends on where Iam.” I thought that was a good answer. Now clearly this obviously sedated man next to me didn’t know that I would use his words on December18 during my free speech but class of 2010 my question to you is, what language do you think in? Not German, Spanish, English, or Greek but what social language do you think in? What fundamental language do you think in for success and as we move forward in thisnext phase in your livesit’s important to think in a newlanguage. I want to ask you to think of a language or in the language that encourages you to give.

As Emily mentioned I’m from Baltimore and there are a lot of interesting people where I’m from. AsIwas walking to work one day, a gentleman walked up to me and he said “Excuse me man, what’s the best nation in the world?” I was on my way to work so I really didn’t have time to engage in games but I said “Of course, it’s the United States.” “No.” I said, “Well, a country in Africa?” “No.”So now I’m thinking he’s trying to be funny so I’mgoing to try to be funny and so I said “JanetJackson’srhythm nation?” “No.” “One nation under a groove?” “No.” I said, “Look man, I don’t have time for this. I’m trying to get to work. What’s the best nation in the world?” He said, “Donation, can you spare50 cents?”

Just for his creativity I gave him just a little something but what he said to me was so true. What’s the best nation in the world? It’s donation.It’s what you give. It’s what you offer and as you move forward in this next phase of your livesremember that it’s about service. It’s about what you offer to the world.

AsEmily mentioned, my wife and I have three children, six, four and seven weeks old which means I spend quite a bit of time in Babies R Us and Toys R Us and ‘Spend all your Money R Us’ and all these other places. Not too long ago, I happened to go to Babies R Us and I saw this little boy and he was dancing. It was so cute. Babies don’t know much about the electric slide and all that stuff so they just sort of bounce. It was so cute because all I heard was Demi Lovato andHannahMontanaand I’m always in the in the market for the hot baby songs.

So this little boy was dancing and I wanted to find out what it was that he was singing. So I could go and sing it to my children. I love baby songs. I’m passed Head Shoulders Knees and Toes. So as I crept up behind him, because I didn’t want to startle him, I wanted to find out what this baby song was he was singing and so I got up behind him andI heard “Teach me how to duggie, teach me teach me how to duggie.” Some of you may need to ask the class of 2010 about the duggie.

this summer you may be that some of the day

It occurred to me that many of our young people are exposed to things that are creating different images, different perceptions, and a different world view in their mind.The class of 2010, you have an opportunity to give of yourselves and offer yourselves as wonderful models of possibility to our young people who are watching what you do.

SoI want you to think in terms of the language that will make you give. We live in a society and it’s a very changing society. Just a few years ago you could turn on the television and see twenty beautiful women fighting for a date with Flavor Flav. It’s a society where you can go to a restaurant and order food that can cause high blood pressure and obesity and cholesterol and when order you say you want a happy meal. I’ll let that one sink in for just a moment. It’s a society where too many young people know more about Jay-Z then the ABCs,know all about Fifty Cent but don’t have25 cents in their pocket and grown men are bragging about the houses that they saw on MTV cribs and they still live at home with their mother.

There is an issue when there are people who get paid millions of dollars for trying to knock a man’s brains out but a teacher, who’s trying to put some brains in, is having trouble paying the mortgage. That’s the society that we are growing up in.

Soour offer to you and our challenge to youis to give, to serve the public. So that the public will serve us well. We also want you to make sure that you think in the language that compels you to grapple, to fight, to wrestle your way to success.

This is a challenging time. We are living in tough economic times and tough social times. Tough times make tough people. The terrapin has a hard shell for a reason. There is a reason for you to be here at this moment and as you move forward in your respective lives and careers understand that the tough times will not create a hindrance, a barrier for you. Challenging times are inevitable. What you have to understand is that it’s what is in you that will create the future.

Now we have the possibility to change for the better. There are some who say that it’s such a challenging time, what will I do, how can I make it? Let’s give you some examples of those who face tough

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times.

WaltDisneywas fired by a newspaper editor who claimed that he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.

Madonna was fired at Dunken’ Doughnuts for pouring sauce on customers. Then she joined a band called The Breakfast Club. The Breakfast Club lost their record deal and she said “Well, let me see what happens if I go solo.”

Soichiro Honda was turned down by two by Toyota for a job as it as an engineer and while he was jobless he started making scooters in his garage. Some of his neighbors encouraged him to sell the scooters and to this day folks are even driving Hondas as we speak.

J.K. Rowling was fired from her job as a secretary for daydreaming and while she was poor with her children she started writing her first Harry Potter novel on the backs of napkins. She was turned down by over 15 publishers until the editor of Bloomberg took the manuscript home to his daughter for her to read.

StevenSpielbergwas rejected by the USC School of Theater Film and Television not once, not twice, but three times.

MichaelJordan’swas cut from his high school basketball team.

WinstonChurchillandAbrahamLincoln lost just about every elected officethey sought before becoming prime minister and president respectively.

Oprah Winfrey was fired from her first job as a TVreporter because she was told that she was unfit for television.

DoctorSeuss, yes even Doctor Seusswas rejected by 27 different publishers before one agreed to printTo Think that I Say it on Mulberry Street.

Tough times make tough people.Circumstances don’t crush people but reveal themand the circumstances that are in a in our environment for you will reveal who you are. So think in the language that compels you to grapple, to fight, to claw, to scratch, to bum rush your way to success. When you do that you understand the power of persistence.

CalvinCoolidgesaid it best. “Nothing takes the place of persistence.” Talent will not, the world is full of talented people who are unsuccessful. Genius will not, unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not, the world is full of educated derelicts.

It’s time for all of us to understand that persistence and determination are omnipotent. I have a stack of rejection letters from various law schools that I keep in my travel bag just to keep me hungry and I read them from time to time and the language is quite flowering. If any of these letters had formed my thoughts about my ability to practice law, if the words that these people heard formedtheiropinions, their thoughts about themselves just think where we would be today. Just think where we will be in the future if you allow any person, any circumstance, any environment, any person, place, or thing to challenge you and change the way you perceive yourself. Think in a language of grappling.

The earth covers 196,940,400 square miles. There are almost 6.9 billion people on the face of the earth, over309 million people in the united states alonebut only one Craig, only one Wallace only one Anita, only one you, and the universe is structured in such a way that each and every one of us has a destiny to fulfill.

Our job is to do it and to never allow anything or anyone to change our mind.No one can chump us out of our destiny.Think in the language of grappling.

Last we want to make sure that we think that language that encourages and compels us to go. There are 1440 minutes in each day and what we have to understand is that each minute counts and when you take the power of your mind to grow and to go understand that there is no time but the present and when you move forward you have to do so now.

This is not a dress rehearsal. This is a life that is moving right now. There is no tomorrow.Make sure that you go right now and fulfill your dreams. Your parents, your family, your friends and our nation are waiting for each and every one of you to move forward and to go.

Even if you live to be 150 years old, in the universal clock each and every one of us is really only here for about a minute and a poem said it best,I’ve only just a minute, 60 seconds in it. Forced upon me, can’t refuse it, didn’t seek it didn’t choose it but I know that I must use it; I will suffer if I lose it. Pay account if I abuse it, just a tiny little minute but eternity is in it.

Class of 2010 repeat after me,I’ve only just a minute, 60 seconds in it. Forced upon me, can’t refuse it, didn’t seek it didn’t choose it but I know that I must use it; I will suffer if I lose it. Pay account if I abuse it, just a tiny little minute but eternity is in it.

Now give yourselves a big round of applause for understanding the power giving, of grappling and of going. When you understand that power when you think in that language of giving and when you think in that language of grappling, of fighting, of scratching and clawing to make sure that you succeed. When you think in that language of going, making sure that you understand that time is now and you must maximize every single moment our society, our world will be better.

So we bring you words of congratulations. Because the University of Maryland is a global community I bring you words of congratulations from around the world. From my friends, [says ‘congratulations’ in several different languages.] Class of 2010, congratulations. You made your mark on Maryland, now make you mark on the world.

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