Who Will Win ‘Best Commencement Speech of 2013′?

Over the weekend, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo did a great job in kicking off the race for the best commencement speech of 2013.  While delivering his 15 minute address to University of Michigan graduates, @DickC drew on his experience as a stand up improv comedian and kept everyone both entertained and inspired with his message to “be in this moment.” He also managed to shamelessly live plug the company that pays his salary, Twitter by sending out the following:

It’s quickly gaining popularity and will likely become one of the most viral commencement speeches joining Steve Jobs’s 2005 speech at Stanford and Conan O’Brien ‘s 2011 Dartmouth speech.

So that begs the question… Who will give the next great speech?  There are a lot of heavy hitters lined up across college campuses in the next few weeks.  Here’s a quick summary of who’s speaking and where.

The Geeks

Drew Houston Dropbox best commencement speech of 2013

Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO of Dropbox will deliver the commencement address at MIT’s 2013 ceremony.

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak will be headlining University of California, Berkeley’s address on May, 18, 2013.  Nate Silver, the world’s most famous statistician will speak at Ripon College in Wisconson and  Drew Houston, co-founder and CEO of Dropbox will take the stage at MIT’s ceremony on June 7, 2013.

The Comics

Stephen Colbert, Comedy Central’s own Dan Rather will be hosting speaking at University of Virginia’s ceremony on May 18, 2013. And technically, you could put Dick Costolo in this category as well, although he probably belongs with the geeks.

The Politicians

POTUS (aka President Barack Obama) will speak at not one, but three commencements this season.   He spoke at Ohio State on May 5th and will speak at Morehouse and the US Naval Academy in the coming weeks.  On the other hand, Vice President Joe Biden will only speak at one, the University of Pennsylvania’s podium on May 13th.

President Bill Clinton will also be on the circuit and will speak at Howard University’s commencement ceremonies on May 11, 2013.


The Mayors

The next two could have been lumped in under politicians but it’s more fun to give them their own category. It will be the battle of the mayors with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaking at Stanford on June 6th and Newark Mayor Corey Booker at Yale on May 19th.

The Spiritual

And in two of this season’s best ‘gets’, Tulane will be hosting his Holiness the Dalai Lama on May 18th and Harvard scored Oprah Winfrey as it’s keynote on May 30th.


If you missed Dick Costolo’s speech, here it is in its entirety.  He has set the bar pretty high for the 2013 commencement speech class. Here’s hoping there are some more good ones:

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