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photo: YouTube/NYU
Graduation season is in full swing, which, lucky for us, means many of the nation’s most accomplished leaders, actors, comedians, and all-around amazing people are imparting their wisdom and wit on all of us via commencement speeches. So to celebrate with graduates across the country, we rounded up a list of the best commencement speeches by women who inspired us or offered life-changing advice in recent years.
1

Rita Moreno

At 83 years old, Oscar, Emmy, Tony and Grammy Award-winning Puerto Rican actress Rita Moreno gave a moving speech to Northeastern Illinois University’s 2015 graduates. Her never-ending enthusiasm on hope and new beginnings in the clip above will surely leave you feeling ready to take on the world.
2

Maya Rudolph

Not only did funny girl Maya Rudolph whip out her own rendition of the National Anthem á la Beyoncé at Tulane University’s 2015 commencement ceremony, but her advice on being open to opportunity was solid. “Say yes, and, create your own destiny. Hold onto your old friends. Kiss your mama. Admit what your dreams are. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t know what you’re gonna do tomorrow, but work hard and don’t be lazy. And, put away your damn iPhone once in a while,“ Rudolph said.
3

Sonia Sotomayor

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has come quite a long way from living in public housing in the Bronx. Scroll over to minute 5:30 to hear this amazing and powerful Latina’s words of wisdom at New York University’s 2012 graduation ceremony at Yankee Stadium — a place she says she grew up revering and as a child never would have imagined being able to speak on its field.
4

Arianna Huffington

Media powerhouse Arianna Huffington didn’t hold back when she addressed Sarah Lawrence’s class of 2011, asking them to never stop asking the big questions, even when they get caught up with work or life, because that is what makes life worth living.
5

Amy Poehler

Super successful comedian and actress Amy Poehler is more than just laughs. During her 2011 commencement speech to Harvard graduates, she stressed being open to collaboration: To find a group of people who challenge and motivate you, and spend a lot of time with them, because it could change your life.

Are there any inspiring commencement speeches you would add to this list?