Following is the full text of comedian Mindy Kaling’s 2018 Commencement Speech at Dartmouth.
Good morning… to the Class of 2018, the faculty, the parents, the grandparents, fellow honorees, and the paid laughers I have scattered throughout the audience.
It is an honor to join you this morning for this special occasion. It is also an honor to speak to you today from behind this gigantic tree stump. Like some sort of female Lorax with an advanced degree. That’s right, you guys, I’m hitting Dr. Seuss hard and early in this speech.
Because Dartmouth grads have a privilege unique among all the Ivy League, we will be forced to be mini experts on Dr. Seuss for our entire lives.
On my deathbed, I’ll be saying “Did you know that his real name was Theodor Geisel? Did you know that he was the editor of the Dartmouth Jack-O-Lantern?”
And yes, while no US presidents have gone to Dartmouth, we can at least lay claim to the wonderful Dr. Seuss. Another notable alumnus is Salmon P. Chase, the man on the $10,000 bill, a symbolically powerful piece of paper that’s largely useless in the real world. Like a degree in playwriting, which I received from this very institution.
Thank you for paying for that, Mom and Dad.
It’s a thrill to be back here in New Hampshire, the Granite State, known for two things. The place where you can legally not wear your seatbelt and Adam Sandler’s birthplace.
New Hampshire has one of the best mottos of any state: Live free or die. For outsiders, it sounds like an exciting declaration of freedom, but when you’re here in January, die actually sounds like a pretty good option.