Our Dream Commencement Speakers

As the honoraries prepare to share their wisdom, we put together a list of who we’d like to see grace the stage.

This May, Mitch Daniels will deliver the address at Purdue, Holocaust survivor Eva Kor of Terre Haute will do the same at Butler, and ESPN’s Sage Steele will try to inspire the cap-and-gown crowd at IU, her alma mater. But several notables with Hoosier ties have never graced a university stage for commencement in this state. We gathered a few words of wisdom from those we’d most like to see on the podium.


John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, to Scholastic News

“A document [the U.S. Constitution] written long before the invention of the automobile, the airplane, the computer, and the Internet may seem so old that students might think that they don’t need to know about it. But you can’t fight for your rights if you don’t know what they are. And you can’t participate in our democracy if you don’t know how it works.”



LettermanDavid Letterman, television host, during his first show after 9/11

“There’s only one requirement of any of us, and that is to be courageous. Because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And, I believe—because I’ve done a little of this myself—pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing.”



Angela BralyAngela Braly, former WellPoint CEO, to the Indianapolis Business Journal

“My encouragement to people, particularly women in business or aspiring to be in government, is: Know who you are. That’s really important because other people will try to tell you who you should be. Make sure you take risks.”



Mike EppsMike Epps, comedian, to a group of children in Niagara Falls, New York

“I grew up poor, on food stamps, hungry, being bullied. Sometimes when things are hard on you, it really makes you stronger. Stand strong and get through that storm.”


Vivica_A_Fox_92Vivica A. Fox, actress, on BET.com

“I left home when I was 17 years old with a goal to be a star, and I’ve been able to live that out beyond my wildest expectations. Do not limit yourself.”





MARK CUBANMark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, on The Queen Latifah Show

“Work like there is someone working 24 hours a day to take it away from you.”