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Home » Shonda Rhimes’ Speech at Dartmouth 2014 Commencement (Transcript)

Shonda Rhimes’ Speech at Dartmouth 2014 Commencement (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of producer and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes’ speech titled “Ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer” at Dartmouth 2014 Commencement.

Listen to the audio version here:


President Hanlon, faculty, staff, honored guests, parents, students, family, and friends, good morning, and congratulations to the Dartmouth graduating class of 2014.

So, this is weird, me giving a speech. In general, I do not like giving speeches. Giving a speech requires standing in front of large groups of people while they look at you, and it also requires talking. I can do the standing part okay, but the you looking and the me talking, I am not a fan. I get this overwhelming feeling of fear, terror, really, dry mouth, heart beats super fast, everything gets a little bit in slow motion, like I might pass out or die or poop my pants or something.

I mean, don’t worry, I’m not going to pass out or die or poop my pants, mainly because just by telling you that it could happen, I have somehow neutralized it as an option. Like as they’re saying it out loud, cast some kind of spell where now it cannot possibly happen. Vomit. I could vomit. See? Vomiting is now also off the table.

Fear of Public Speaking

Neutralized it. We’re good. Anyway, the point is, I do not like to give speeches. I’m a writer. I’m a TV writer. I like to write stuff for other people to say. I actually contemplated bringing Ellen Pompeo or Kerry Washington here to say my speech for me, but my lawyer pointed out that when you drag someone across state lines against their will, the FBI comes looking for you. So I don’t like giving speeches in general because of the fear and terror, but this speech, this speech I really did not want to give.

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