RAT Rock News

RAT Rock News

RAT Rock News

‘Tis the season…graduation season, that is.

From high school to college, many students are now celebrating their hard work by donning their cap and gown and receiving their diplomas. For some very lucky grads, their commencement will feature a speech from a high-profile figure, from distinguished alumni to heads of state and even heads of rock bands.

In honor of graduation season, check out these great commencement speeches from some of the biggest names in rock.

RELATED: 15 Unique Gift Ideas For High School Grads


  • Dexter Holland (USC's Keck School of Medicine, 2022)

    The Offspring frontman is one of the few rock stars that has or will speak at a commencement ceremony that has actually earned a doctorate degree. Holland earned a Ph.D in molecular biology from the University of Southern California in 2017, so the singer speaking at his alma mater recently was extra special. His full remarks can be heard below, and they even include a fun anecdote about him being in a USC lab and how it inspired him to write hit “Come Out and Play.”

  • Bono (University of Pennsylvania, 2004)

    Weird ginger hair phase aside, Bono was self-deprecating and uplifting.  He told the graduates, “That’s what this degree of yours is, a blunt instrument. So go forth and build something with it. Remember what John Adams said about Ben Franklin, ‘He does not hesitate at our boldest Measures but rather seem to think us too irresolute.’ Well, this is the time for bold measures. This is the country, and you are the generation.”

  • Jon Bon Jovi (Rutgers University Camden, 2015)

    JBJ delivered a moving speech in which he said, “Class is over, learning isn’t. Your diploma is a key – to open doors of possibility not only for yourselves, but for others.” However, he also wrote the graduating class a song for them.

  • Alice Cooper (Musicians Institute in Los Angeles, 2012)

    While we kind of wished Alice would’ve been in full stage makeup and costume during his speech, Alice still delivered an incredible speech with this brilliant reminder: “If you succeed, you become a genius. If you fail, you become an idiot. You can always start again.”

  • Annie Lennox (Berklee College of Music, 2013)

    The Berklee College of Music is one of the most prestigious art institutions in the United States, so they have significant pull when it comes to getting amazing commencement speakers.  Annie Lennox’s address in 2013, however, is one of the standouts in recent years especially with insight like, “Consider this, wherever you think you’re heading right now might turn out to take a completely different path.  What looks like an ending might actually be the start of a brand new beginning.”

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