In honor of the newest class of graduates, Duke Magazine and @DukeAlumni partnered to ask alumni all over the world to share their 50-word-or-less "commencement speech." Here's what they said...

Today is not the last day but the start of a whole new Blue Devil journey.

Naseebullah Esmaty LLM '20

Remember all those you met, even if that experience was mere minutes. Cherish it all!

David Greenleaf '74

Do what you love and everything else will fall into place.

Carl Chiou '98

It's okay to not know what you want to do yet. Take time after college to find out who you really are!

Jasmine Boatner '13

The education I received help me to succeed in medical school and beyond, but more important were the wonderful friendships that I made during my time at Duke. My friends to this day are like family.

Vikas Patel '96, MD '00

Look for Duke everywhere. In all the corners of the world. In friends. In ideas. In yourself. You’ll always be at home.

Valentine Rae Esposito '14, MHS '19, MD '19

Keep in contact with people you met during your time at Duke..friends, professors, advisors.

Alex Torres '20

Stay tightly connected to your Duke friends!

Valerie Rind '83

Never forget who helped you get to where you are today. Friends, family, faculty – be grateful for everyone who invested in you and give back where you can.

Kevin Liu MBA '18

Duke alumni are everywhere, and we are ready to support you any way that we can. All you have to do is ask!

Rebecca Feinglos Planchard '11

#DukeWisdom from Past Commencement Speakers

Amid the division in our society that often receives all the attention, this past year I remain in awe of the lengths we will go to just sit next to a friend. | Deeksha Malhotra '18, MD '23

I hope we strive not only to make ourselves successful but to be part of the stories that make others successful as well. | Elena Elliott '17

Duke students have a tendency to be inclusive, to reach out, to make communities, to make friends...So let's take this world and fill it with Duke graduates. | Michael Lefevre '11, MBA '20

Duke has challenged us to see the world both as it is and as it might be. I hope we hold onto this Blue Devil double vision—because if we do, we might not only succeed for ourselves, but also leave the world a little bit better than we found it. | Andrew Kragie '15


It's hard for Duke people to hear, but fail...Failing does not make you a failure. Failing makes you the person who continues the lifelong pursuit of knowledge and mastery that you started at Duke. Go forth and fail!

Page Murray '85

Open yourself up to being uncomfortable, and you will be able to learn even more about your values, passions and curiosities.

Yaa Amissah-Aidoo '20

Take chances early and embrace the unexpected adventures that await!

Anne Dowling '92

Don’t worry if your Plan A changes to Plan B to Plan As-Yet-Undiscovered. Time and experience will shape and color your values and priorities differently as you go.

Christina Wagner '92

Take the time to sit awhile with your grandparents...Take the time to care for your mental and physical health. And take the time to help those around you.

Sheila Stafford McThenia '88

Pursue your passion. You'll be surprised at what you can achieve when this is the case.

Alexander (Sandy) McMahon MBA '82

Don’t worry about what you majored in at Duke. You don’t have to be an art historian if you majored in art history. Find an industry YOU want to work in.

Lisa Fleming Torres '87

Look back at the time spent at Duke, not only as the best years of your life but as those that will make the ones coming even better!

Arun Velu MEM '19

Banu Priya MEM '19

This is not a culmination of your journey of learning. It is in fact the beginning of a lifelong journey of learning, unlearning and relearning!

Shabnam Khan MEM '09

Continue to make us proud to have known you because with you goes our hopes for a better future.

Sheila Bailey '67

Watch your ego: the cause of all your problems, your greatest triumphs and most delicious feelings. Constant awareness of your thinking, your speech and actions, how others are responding, will make you realize that kindness and love are the most precious things you can bestow on yourself and the world.

Ron Nelson '52

Make yourself a stronger person by lifting up others when they need you.

John Fenley MBA '01

Take chances, meet new people and remember that you are #ForeverDuke

Beth Gabay P '16, P '19

Represent Duke out in the big, wide world!

Erica Hill '98

Congratulations, Class of 2021, and welcome to your #ForeverDuke journey with Duke Alumni

Congratulations, Class of 2021, and welcome to your #ForeverDuke journey

Credits: Adrienne Johnson Martin, Emma Welch, Liz Liu, Christina Holder, and the Duke University Communications photo staff