100 Graduation Quotes for All Grads

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Graduations are always special occasions and these graduation quotes will have you ready for commencement from any stage of learning.

Graduating from any level of school is an exciting milestone that deserves celebrating.

Aside from accomplishing past goals, graduations give us a chance to set new ones and move to bigger challenges.

So take time to enjoy commencement with these great graduation quotes and celebrate all you’ve accomplished in school.

Top 10 Graduation Quotes

Graduation isn’t the closing of a door. It’s the opening of a thousand.

Daniel Schultz

Graduation is the beginning of knowing who you are, what you are, why you are, and always knowing where you are going.

Lydia Patton
Carol Burnett quote "We don't stop going to school when we graduate"
“We don’t stop going to school when we graduate.” – Carol Burnett

There is a good reason they call these ceremonies ‘commencement exercises.’ Graduation is not the end; it’s the beginning.

Orrin Hatch

The man who graduates today and stops learning tomorrow is uneducated the day after.

Newton D. Baker

Be excited about your college graduation and career opportunities!

Paul B. Hudson

Graduation is not the end but the beginning of our bigger life and bigger challenges in life to face.

May Ann
Michael Pipper quote "Graduation is the first step to truly living"
“Graduation is the first step to truly living.” – Michael Pipper

Graduation is the end of theoretical knowledge and the start of practical life.

Geetha Laxman

Graduation, a conclusion of one chapter, a beginning of another.

Catherine Pulsifer

Quotes about Graduation

Graduation is an important day. It is a significant achievement.

Stephanie Ruhle

Graduation is a time to nod at the past and smile at the future, and we’d better smile at it because it’s quite a bit bigger than us.

Noah MacDonald

Education is something we have to keep pursuing day after day.

Premier Brian Gallant

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.

Edmund Hillary
Arie Pencovici quote "Graduation is only a concept"
“Graduation is only a concept.” – Arie Pencovici

Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you’ll make a difference.

Arie Pencovici

Education is our passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today.

Malcolm X

Having the right mindset is critical to graduation no matter at what age you decide to take the leap.

Mike Finley

After years of daily effort and sleepless nights cramming for exams and finishing term papers, the day finally comes when you put on your caps and gowns to stand in line to receive the university diploma certifying that the time has come for you to make your entry into the real world.

Maria C. Siccardi, A Graduation Gift

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.

Robert Louis Stevenson

And whether it’s a moment of graduation or some time of transition in one’s life, there’s this sense of being unmoored – what used to be isn’t any longer.

Pema Chödrön
Arie Pencovici quote "In real life every day you graduate"
“In real life every day you graduate.” – Arie Pencovici

Commencement. These graduates go out to a new season and our paths will never cross again in the same way.

Marsha Woodward

Now you have graduated and “commenced,” ending the last segment of your previous adventure, and now you begin your next adventure.

Tom Swanson

Graduation day is tough for adults. They go to the ceremony as parents. They come home as contemporaries. After twenty-two years of child-raising, they are unemployed.

Erma Bombeck

Life is my college. May I graduate well, and earn some honors!

Louisa May Alcott

A graduation ceremony is an event where the commencement speaker tells thousands of students dressed in identical caps and gowns that “individuality” is the key to success.

Robert Orben

Graduation is also the first time you are able to do what you want with your life, without anyone holding you back or telling you no.

Michael Pipper

The learning that starts in school and used to end at graduation is now a vital and continual proactive process.

Victor Hayek

God wants us to know that life is a series of beginnings, not endings. Just as graduations are not terminations but commencements.

Bernie S. Siegel
Anne Lamot quote "I accidentally forgot to graduate from college"
“I accidentally forgot to graduate from college.” – Anne Lamot

Remember, half the doctors in this country graduated in the bottom half of their class.

Al McGuire

We have made hardly any changes in our conception of university organization, education, graduation, for a century – for several centuries.

H.G. Wells

I wasn’t under any delusion that a single message would change their world, but I was determined to prepare something that would contribute to their lives beyond graduation day, something that would help them to choose a life that matters.

Dennis Rainey

The road to graduation is a long, steep climb, so take a moment at the summit to be proud of your accomplishments.

Sheryl Sandberg

As a lot of us have found out, graduation only means that you are ready to keep learning, to keep your skills advanced and growing because you never know when you will find yourself out on the street.

Byron Pulsifer

I don’t remember at all what was said at my college graduation, and I think that’s the case for many people.

Stephanie Ruhle

For many, graduation marks the end of formal student life, the end of long spring breaks and of thinking that a 10 a.m. class is far too early.

Alexa von Tobel

When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy.

Samuel Goldwyn

I believe that we must focus on graduation as the key accountability measure.

Ruben Hinojosa

It’s more than a diploma. It’s more than graduation. It’s knowledge.

Cardi B
"Truancy rates are directly correlated to low graduation rates"
“Truancy rates are directly correlated to low graduation rates.” – Tony Cardenas

Struggling to decide what to do after graduation is, and always will be, a sort of rite of passage to the next phase of your life.

Gloria Davidson

At graduation, you get to wear a cap and gown, but it’s a good idea to also wear something underneath it.

Greg Tamblyn

Words on Graduating

Effort and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.

John F. Kennedy

The fireworks begin today. Each diploma is a lighted match, each one of you is a fuse.

Ed Koch

You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result.

Mahatma Gandhi

Man’s greatness consists in his ability to do, and the proper application of his powers to things needed to be done.

Frederick Douglass

It is better to know and be disappointed, than to not know and always wonder.

Oscar Wilde

You can complain about the direction of your life all you want, but until you sit in the driver’s seat and begin to drive yourself, you aren’t going to get where you want to go!

Les Brown

After graduating, the possibilities are infinite, but they are a lot harder to obtain and you don’t always end up where you thought you would be.

Jenny Blake

The noblest question in the world is: What good may I do in it?

Benjamin Franklin

As you graduate, as you deal with your excitement and your doubts today, I urge you to try and create the world you want to live in.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Struggling to decide what to do after graduation is, and always will be, a sort of rite of passage to the next phase of your life.

Gloria Davidson, When Graduation Spits You Out

To acquire knowledge, one must study; but to acquire wisdom, one must observe.

Marilyn Vos Savant
"The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate"
“The trouble with learning from experience is that you never graduate.” – Doug Larson

You did it. You got through it. You’ve run the gauntlet of exams, essays, and the occasional all-nighter and come out of it reasonably unscathed. You’ve got a diploma, a gown, and a nifty tasseled cap.

Alyssa Favreau, Stuff Every Graduate Should Know

Learning is not something that stops once you get out of school. Rather, it’s something that should be considered as a vital component of your day-to-day life.

Rupert Johnson

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

To the graduates, you might think your time in education is done, but after you leave here today, I am asking you to let your actions out there in the world fuel the demand for better education.

Pharrell Williams

Graduation day is not a victory to celebrate! But a day to start again another beginning!

Mark Alonzo

It is indeed ironic that we spend our school days yearning to graduate and our remaining days waxing nostalgic about our school days.

Isabel Waxman

If you walk out of here with a diploma in your hand, you better walk out of here with something these professors put in your heads, too. And retain it, or you’re going to be in bad trouble.

Pearl Bailey

I’ve told my children that when I die, to release balloons in the sky to celebrate that I graduated. For me, death is a graduation.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

One half who graduate from college never read another book.

G.M. Trevelyan

If you graduated from higher education, you should feel proud and not allow your grades to define who you are.

Saaif Alam

Graduation Speech Quotes

Commencement speeches were invented largely in the belief that outgoing college students should never be released into the world until they have been properly sedated.

Garry Trudeau

Each year at graduation, I am obliged to offer a few ‘brief remarks,’ which are usually not as brief as they should be.

James E. Ryan

Without a doubt, the best graduation speeches captivate the audience, heart and soul. They enchant us without smothering. They advise us without being didactic.

Randy Howe
Bruce Eric Kaplan quote "Graduation speeches force you to reflect"
“Graduation speeches force you to reflect. They are about consciousness. Nothing is better than consciousness.” – Bruce Eric Kaplan

I love graduation speeches. I have always loved them; I will always love them.

Bruce Eric Kaplan

What I like about graduation speeches is that they’re an opportunity for someone to make sense of their life and to impart that wisdom to someone else. It’s like a sanctioned self-help moment.

Bruce Eric Kaplan

No graduation speaker will ever tell you that the future is anything but uncertain. It never is. But graduations need not only be obsessed with looking ahead; a graduation can be a day on which we turn back and trace our steps to see how we ended up where we are.

Taylor Mali

If these thoughts on commencement speeches have you ready for more inspiration, check out our 12 Inspirational Graduation Speeches to honor your education or even write a stirring remarks of your own.

Words for Graduates

Don’t live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable.

Wendy Wasserstein

Be the author, not the reader, of your own life.

Paul Gibbons

Curiosity is the key to creativity.

Akio Morita

Self confidence is the first requisite to great undertakings.

Samuel Johnson

No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.

Robin Williams

You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.

A.A. Milne

Go into the world and do well. But more importantly, go into the world and do good.

Minor Myers Jr.

Graduates, today your formal education begins! Here’s your first lesson. Find a wise mentor.

Rick Rigsby, Lessons From A Third Grade Dropout

My dear terrified graduates, you are about to enter the most uncertain and thrilling period of your lives. The stories you are about to live are the ones you will be telling your children, and grandchildren, and therapists.

Lin-Manuel Miranda

The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Albert Einstein
Pierce Brosnan graduation quote "Graduates, we need you to save the world"
“Graduates, we need you to save the world.” – Pierce Brosnan

Most graduates have a mixture of emotions at this time. You probably have a tremendous sense of relief and accomplishment for finishing a major course of study.

Michael Farris

Every graduate here today has the training and the talent to succeed. But do you have the guts to fail?

Denzel Washington

You are no longer students. You are no longer a work in progress. You are now citizens of the real world. You have a responsibility to become a person worthy of joining and contributing to society. Because who you are today, that’s who you are.

Shonda Rhimes

That diploma you hold in your hands today is really just your learner’s permit for the rest of the drive through life. Remember, you don’t have to be smarter than the next person. All you have to do is be willing to work harder than the next person.

Jimmy Iovine

Then that same confident and mature high school graduate will be a very different person when they graduate college than when they entered. Four years can make a big difference in maturity.

Lee Binz

Now that you’ve graduated, just remember, bosses don’t usually accept notes from your mother.

Melanie White

You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.

Dr. Seuss

To those of you who received honors, awards and distinctions, I say well done. And to the C students, I say you too may one day be president of the United States.

George W. Bush

A man who has never gone to school may steal from a freight car, but if he has a university education, he may steal the whole railroad.

Teddy Roosevelt

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.

Eleanor Roosevelt

The noblest question in the world is: What good may I do in it?

Benjamin Franklin

If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.

Frank A. Clark
"Knowledge is meaningful only if it is reflected in action"
“Knowledge is meaningful only if it is reflected in action.” – Robert Fulghum

As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own.

Michael Dell

You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.

Tom Brokaw

The college graduate is presented with a sheepskin to cover his intellectual nakedness.

Robert M. Hutchins

The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.

B.B. King

We hope you enjoyed these graduation quotes and feel a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.

From Kindergarten to a doctoral degree, graduations are always momentous occasions. They afford the time to look back on past journeys and look forward to new ones.

So wherever you are at in your educational process, don’t forget to take a breath and throw that cap in the air today. You did it!

Photo of author

Quincy Seale

Quincy is KIM's editor, and has collected and shared inspiring quotes and stories since 2005. Quincy holds an MBA from the University of Dundee and an MSc from the University of Edinburgh, and lives in San Antonio with his wife Natalie, son Alex, and his dog Oban.