Top 100 Graduation Quotes

Graduation

Graduation is a special time of the year when students trade in their books for suits and ties and prepare to start their careers. As one door closes and another door opens for recent graduates, Career Igniter takes a look back with these top 100 graduation quotes (includes 21 bonus quotes).

  1. Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
    -Henry David Thoreau
  2. 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
  3. 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
  4. Hitch your wagon to a star.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  5. How many cares one loses when one decides not to be something but to be someone.
    -Gabrielle
  6. I believe in the principle that I can make a difference in this world. It may be ever so small, but it will count for the greater good.
    -Gordon B. Hinckley
  7. I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.
    -Mark Twain
  8. I learned law so well, the day I graduated I sued the college, won the case, and got my tuition back.
    -Fred Allen
  9. If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
    -Milton Berle
  10. If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm.
    -Vince Lombardi
  11. If you feel that you have both feet planted on level ground, then the university has failed you.
    -Robert Goheen
  12. If you think education is expensive, try ignorance!
    -Andy McIntyre
  13. In the business world, everyone is paid in two coins: cash and experience. Take the experience first; the cash will come later.
    -Harold Geneen
  14. In the game of life, when the final buzzer sounds, the only stat you carry with you is the number of assists you made. So help other people put some points on the board.
    -Mayor Mike Bloomberg
  15. 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
  16. It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.
    -Edmund Hillary
  17. It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.
    -E.E. Cummings
  18. It takes most men five years to recover from a college education, and to learn that poetry is as vital to thinking as knowledge.
    -Brooks Atkinson
  19. I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
    -Maya Angelou
  20. Just about a month from now I’m set adrift, with a diploma for a sail and lots of nerve for oars.
    -Richard Halliburton
  21. Keep in mind that neither success nor failure is ever final.
    -Roger Babson
  22. Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
    -Henry Ford
  23. Of course there’s a lot of knowledge in universities: the freshmen bring a little in; the seniors don’t take much away, so knowledge sort of accumulates.
    -A. Lawrence Lowell
  24. 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
  25. Patience, persistence and perspiration make an unbeatable combination for success.
    -Napoleon Hill
  26. 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
  27. Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.
    -Les Brown
  28. Sooner or later we all discover that the important moments in life are not the advertised ones, not the birthdays, the graduations, the weddings, not the great goals achieved. The real milestones are less prepossessing. They come to the door of memory unannounced, stray dogs that amble in, sniff around a bit and simply never leave. Our lives are measured by these.
    -Susan B. Anthony
  29. Spread joy. Chase your wildest dreams.
    -Patch Adams
  30. Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.
    -Winston Churchill
  31. Success isn’t a result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire.
    -Arnold H. Glasow
  32. The advantage of a classical education is that it enables you to despise the wealth that it prevents you from achieving.
    -Russell Green
  33. The best helping hand that you will ever receive is the one at the end of your own arm.
    -Fred Dehner
  34. The best of all things is to learn. Money can be lost or stolen, health and strength may fail, but what you have committed to your mind is yours forever.
    -Louis L’Amour
  35. The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match. Each one of you is a fuse.
    -Edward Koch
  36. The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
    -Eleanor Roosevelt
  37. The important thing is not to stop questioning.
    -Albert Einstein
  38. The important thing is this: to be able to give up in any given moment all that we are for what we can become.
    -DeSeaux
  39. The larger the island of knowledge, the longer the shoreline of wonder.
    -Ralph W. Sockman
  40. The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.
    -Newton D. Baker
  41. 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
  42. The most rewarding things in life are often the ones that look like they cannot be done.
    -Arnold Palmer
  43. The one real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions.
    -Bishop Mandell Creighton
  44. The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.
    -Aristotle
  45. The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  46. The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate.
    -Doug Larson
  47. The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit.
    -Nelson Henderson
  48. The truth is, I was afraid the day I walked into Stanford. And I was afraid the day I walked out.
    -Carly Fiorina
  49. The very purpose of our life is happiness, which is sustained by hope…. Hope means keeping going, thinking, ‘I can do this.’ It brings inner strength, self-confidence, the ability to do what you do honestly, truthfully and transparently.
    -The Dalai Lama
  50. The whole purpose of education is to turn mirrors into windows.
    -Sydney J. Harris

Top 100 Graduation Quotes

Can you believe we are half way there?

  1. There are no shortcuts to any place worth going.
    -Beverly Sills
  2. There are two types of education. One should teach us how to make a living, and the other how to live.
    -John Adams
  3. There is a good reason they call these ceremonies commencement exercises” Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.”
    -Orrin Hatch
  4. There is just one life for each of us: our own.
    -Euripides
  5. Things turn out best for the people who make the best out of the way things turn out.
    -Art Linkletter
  6. Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures.
    -H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  7. Time is not measured by the passing of years but by what one does, what one feels, and what one achieves.
    -Jawaharlal Nehru
  8. To accomplish great things, we must not only act but also dream, not only dream, but also believe.
    -Anatole France
  9. To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.
    -E.E. Cummings
  10. To the uneducated, an A is just three sticks.
    -A.A. Milne
  11. To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you too may one day be president of the United States.
    -George W Bush
  12. 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
  13. Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value.
    -Albert Einstein
  14. Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
    -Mark Twain
  15. Use your knowledge and your heart to stand up for those who can’t stand, speak for those who can’t speak.
    -Julie Andrews
  16. We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.
    -JK Rowling
  17. We don’t stop going to school when we graduate.
    -Carol Burnett
  18. What we are is God’s gift to us. What we become is our gift to God.
    -Eleanor Powell
  19. When you leave here, don’t forget why you came.
    -Adlai Stevenson
  20. 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
  21. Wherever you go, go with all your heart.
    -Confucius
  22. Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine.
    -Anthony J. D’Angelo
  23. Wise are those who learn that the bottom line doesn’t always have to be their top priority.
    -William Arthur Ward
  24. 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
  25. 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
  26. It is clear the future holds great opportunities. It also holds pitfalls. The trick will be to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o’clock.
    -Woody Allen
  27. A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.
    -Henry Ford
  28. 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
  29. 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
  30. A professor is someone who talks in someone else’s sleep.
    -W.H. Auden
  31. A wise man will make more opportunities than he finds.
    -Francis Bacon
  32. All our dreams can come true…if we have the courage to pursue them.
    -Walt Disney
  33. All successful people, men and women, are big dreamers. They imagine what their future could be, ideal in every respect, and then they work every day toward their distant vision, that goal or purpose.
    -Brian Tracy
  34. Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of somebody else.
    -Judy Garland
  35. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.
    -Benjamin Franklin
  36. As citizens, we understand that it is not about what America may do for us. It’s about what can be done by us, together.
    -President Obama
  37. 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
  38. 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
  39. 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
  40. Congratulations! Today is your day. You’re off to Great Places! You’re off and away! 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
  41. Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path and leave a trail.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  42. 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
  43. Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.
    -Robert Louis Stevenson
  44. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition.
    -Steve Jobs
  45. Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.
    -Wendy Wasserstein
  46. Don’t waste time learning the tricks of the trade.” Instead, learn the trade.”
    -James Charlton and H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
  47. Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.
    -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  48. Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing worth knowing can be taught.
    -Oscar Wilde
  49. Education is not filling a pail, but lighting a fire.
    -William Butler Yeats
  50. Education is the best provision for old age.
    -Aristotle

BONUS: Just in case you didn’t like any of the graduation quotes above, we have more:

  1. Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.
    -Nelson Mandela
  2. Education is what remains when one has forgotten everything he learned in school.
    – Albert Einstein
  3. Education is what survives when what has been learned has been forgotten.
    -B.F. Skinner
  4. Excellence is not a skill. It is an attitude.
    -Ralph Marston
  5. First class in life has nothing to do with the clothes you wear, the car you drive or the house you live in. First class is and always will be about the content of your character, the quality of your ideas and the kindness in your heart.
    -Mayor Cory Booke
  6. Knowledge is power.
    -Francis Bacon
  7. Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can – there will always come a time when you will be grateful you did.
    -Sarah Caldwell
  8. Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors!
    -Louisa May Alcott
  9. Life is not easy for anyone. Sometimes you don’t see the challenges on the outside, but every single one of us has both those and everything that goes on inside as well. Give it your all. Dare to be all you can be.
    -Hillary Clinton
  10. Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.
    -Mahatma Ghandi
  11. Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson
  12. My father always told me: Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
    -Jim Fox
  13. Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world right in the eye.
    -Helen Keller
  14. What I know now is that feelings are really your GPS system for life. When you’re supposed to do something or not supposed to do something, your emotional guidance system lets you know.
    -Oprah
  15. You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.
    -John Wooden
  16. 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
  17. 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 Alda
  18. You must have control of the authorship of your own destiny. The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.
    -Irene C. Kassorla
  19. You will throughout your life have people who will tell you that you’re not good enough. Maybe they’re jealous. Maybe they think you aren’t. Maybe they’ve had a bad day. But ultimately you have to believe in yourself.
    -Meredith Viera
  20. 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
  21. Your time is limited, 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. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.
    -Steve Jobs

That’s all we have for now. If you know of a graduation quote that you found inspiring, go ahead and submit it to us and we can add it so others can be inspired.

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  1. Kevin Andrew Woolsey says:

    Graduation is a scary time for many. Comforting words always help.

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