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4 Great Commencement Speeches From Rock Stars

College graduation season is almost upon us, which means some celebrities are about to be called on to deliver commencement speeches.

Wesley College in Dover, Del. just announced that KISS' Paul Stanley will be speaking at their 2018 Commencement ceremony on May 12.

Now, we know Stanley has no problem with concert banter, but if he's looking for inspiration for his speech, he should check out these four great commencement speeches from rock stars.

Bono (University of Pennsylvania, 2004)

Weird ginger hair phase aside, Bono was self-deprecating and inspiring.  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."

Bono Delivers Penn's Commencement Address

Lead singer of U2 Bono delivers The University of Pennsylvania 248th Commencement Address to the Class of 2004 at historic Franklin Field, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Monday May 17, 2004. The Commencement DVD for this Penn Commencement and all Penn Commencements from 1994 through the present can be purchased at www.creativevideostore.com

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.  Ha!  Tommy and Gina, who?

WATCH: Bon Jovi writes, performs song for Rutgers-Camden class of 2015: 'Start your own revolution'

During his remarks at the Rutgers University Camden graduate commencement Jon Bon Jovi performed a song he wrote specifically to inspire graduates as they start their new chapter in life. In the song Bon Jovi told students to "make this the best of t


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."

Alice Cooper Keynote Speech at Musicians Institute.

"Go out as far on that limb as you can." Alice Cooper doles out the crazy stories and great advice to the students at MI. (800) 255-7529 (US/Canada) (323) 462-1384 (International/Direct) [email protected] http://www.mi.edu Musicians Institute, in Hollywood, California, offers a comprehensive, hands-on education in contemporary music performance, recording, guitar making, music business and film.


Annie Lennox (Berklee College of Music, 2013)

The Berklee College of Music is one of the most prestigious arts 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."

Annie Lennox Delivers Berklee 2013 Commencement Address

Annie Lennox delivers Berklee's 2013 commencement address, sharing the history of her love of music, and how it singularly shaped her future. She reflects on milestones from her own musical journey, hoping to inspire the students as they move forward in their lives and careers at this critical moment of profound change.


Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock blogger that loves the smell of old vinyl in the morning.