- Many notable CEOs addressed college graduates during commencement speeches this year.
- CEOs from Apple’s Tim Cook to FUBU’s Daymond John shared stories and advice on leadership, adversity, and success.
- Here’s the best advice CEOs gave the Class of 2019.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Commencement speeches are a time for college graduates to hear from some of the world’s most successful and famous people before they cross the stage and enter the next phase of their lives.
This year, a number of notable CEOs addressed the Class of 2019 at colleges across the country, sharing stories and life advice to America’s latest crop of graduates.
In their speeches, businesses leaders from Tim Cook to Daymond John touched on what it means to be a leader, how to respond in a crisis, and the importance of listening to others when building a community.
Their advice can apply for anyone, whether you’re holding a diploma or simply subscribe to a lifetime of learning.
Here’s the best advice that CEOs gave the Class of 2019 in commencement speeches this year.
Daymond John: "Continue to do your homework. Keep your learning goals instead of your earning goals."
YouTube/The Ross School of Business – University of Michigan
Daymond John, the "Shark Tank" investor and CEO of FUBU, told graduates of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business that nothing is new and the "only thing that costs more than education is ignorance."
"Airbnb is still a timeshare. Uber is geo-tracking with a limousine service. Facebook is a nasty chain letter. I hate to break it to you, the Snuggie is still a blanket, it just has two holes in it," he said.
Tim Cook: "We forget sometimes that our preexisting beliefs have their own force of gravity. Today, certain algorithms pull toward you the things you already know, believe, or like, and they push away everything else. Push back."
"Call upon your grit. Try something," Apple CEO Tim Cook told graduates of Tulane University.
"You may succeed. You may fail. But make it your life’s work to remake the world because there is nothing more beautiful or more worthwhile than working to leave something better for humanity."
Robert F. Smith: "We are enough to ensure we have all the opportunities of the American Dream. And we will show it to each other through our actions and through our words and through our deeds."
Robert F. Smith, an investor and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, shocked the graduating class of Morehouse College by announcing he would establish a foundation to wipe away their student debt.
In his speech, Smith also touched on the importance of small, yet intentional change.
"Don’t forget that communities thrive in the smallest of gestures. Be the first to congratulate a friend on their new job," he said. "Be the first to console them when they face adversity."
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