Wonder if it is customary for those invited to deliver Commencement Speech at Stanford to leave gifts for the students who give them a hearing. Oprah Winfrey who addressed the Stanford Class of ’08 gifted each graduate a copy of Eckhart Tolle’s A New Earth’, and also A Whole New Mind – Why the Right-Brainers’ Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink.
“I really want to give you cars, but I just couldn’t pull that off,” said America’s best known talk-show host, as she informed her audience about her gift – ‘underneath your seats you’ll find two of my favourite books’. In her speech Oprah shared with Stanford grads, their parents, grand-parents, the faculty and the trustees the lessons she learned from failings, success, and her life in-between that she defined as ‘a reciprocal exchange’. To move forward in life, you need to give back. And it is in the giving, she finds happiness.
She reminded the students that the institution from which they had just graduated was the result of the giving by Jane and Leland Stanford, who had suffered in life the worst any mom and dad could ever endure – the loss of their only son to typhoid, at the age of 15. As Oprah put it, the Stanfords channeled their grief and pain into an act of grace, with their funding grant to the university, pledging to do to others’ children what they were not able to do to their own boy.
Current TV one-minute video clip of Oprah’s speech