My Favorite Commencement Address, Ever

Although this year’s commencement addresses by President and Mrs. Obama have been inspiring, engaging, and often humorous—as was Jon Lovett’s, my favorite commencement address, hands down, is one written by Robert Reich to last year’s graduates–but never meant to be delivered in person. It has been reproduced on a fairly large number of progressive blogs, most notably Huffington Post and Nation of Change.


The Commencement Address That Won’t Be Given


Members of the Class of 2012,

As a former secretary of labor and current professor, I feel I owe it to you to tell you the truth about the pieces of parchment you’re picking up today.

You’re f*cked.

Well, not exactly. But you won’t have it easy.

First, you’re going to have a hell of a hard time finding a job. The job market you’re heading into is still bad. . . .


The rest of this post can be found at The ending is worth the time it takes to click the link and read the rest.

Prof. Reich’s web site is

Although he certainly doesn’t need any endorsements from me, I cannot recall reading anything that he has written and thinking that it has not been succinctly articulated, carefully considered, and freshly insightful. And although he often writes on economic topics, he writes equally well on a broad range of policy issues of interest to and concern to progressives.

4 thoughts on “My Favorite Commencement Address, Ever

  1. The sentence ” It has been reproduced on a fairly large number of progressive blogs, most notably Huffington Post and Nation of Change, so I am assuming that it is acceptable to present it in full here” is one I never expected to see on an AAUP blog. What happened to checking with the original author for permission? Have the sloppy scholarly habits and lack of recognition of intellectual property of students now infected the faculty as well? Does the “everyone else does it” defense now seem reasonable to faculty?

    I realize that AAUP disclaims responsibility for the content of the blogs, but copyright violation is not so easily dismissed, either ethically or legally.

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