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Home » Admiral William H. McRaven’s 2014 Commencement Address at University of Texas at Austin (Transcript)

Admiral William H. McRaven’s 2014 Commencement Address at University of Texas at Austin (Transcript)

Admiral William H McRaven at University of Texas at Austin 2014

Here is the full transcript and summary of Admiral William H. McRaven’s inspiring 2014 commencement address at University of Texas at Austin. This event occurred on May 17, 2014.

Listen to the MP3 Audio:

TRANSCRIPT: 

William H. McRaven – Former United States Navy admiral

Thank you very much. Thank you.

Well, thank you. President Powers, Provost Fenves, Deans, members of the faculty, family and friends and most importantly, the Class of 2014. It is indeed an honor for me to be here tonight.

It’s been almost 37 years to the day that I graduated from UT. I remember a lot of things about that day. I remember I had a throbbing headache from a party the night before. I remember I had a serious girlfriend, whom I later married — that’s important to remember by the way — and I remember I was getting commissioned in the Navy that day.

But of all the things I remember, I don’t have a clue who the commencement speaker was, and I certainly don’t remember anything they said. So, acknowledging that fact, if I can’t make this commencement speech memorable, I will at least try to make it short.

So the University’s slogan is: “What starts here changes the world.” Well, I’ve got to admit — I kind of like it. “What starts here changes the world.”

Tonight there are almost 8,000 students – or, there are more than 8000 students — graduating from UT. So that great paragon of analytical rigor, Ask.Com, says that the average American will meet 10,000 people in their lifetime. 10,000 people! That’s a lot of folks. But, if every one of you changed the lives of just 10 people — and each one of those people changed the lives of another 10 people and another 10, then in five generations — 125 years — the Class of 2014 will have changed the lives of 800 million people. 800 million people! Think about it. Over twice the population of the United States. Go one more generation and you can change the entire population of the world – 8 billion people.

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