DENZEL WASHINGTON BEST SPEECH IN  PENNSYLVANIA UNIVERSITY

DENZEL WASHINGTON BEST SPEECH IN PENNSYLVANIA UNIVERSITY

August 16, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs


let me tell you the world needs your
talents and does it ever I just got back from Africa like two days ago so if I’m
rambling on it’s because I’m jet lag I just got back from South Africa’s
beautiful country but there are places there with terrible parvat poverty that
need help when Africa’s just the tip of the iceberg the Middle East needs your
help Japan needs your help Alabama needs your
help Tennessee needs your help Louisiana needs your help Philadelphia
need your help. The world needs a lot and we need it from you we really
do we need it from you young people I mean I’m not speaking for the rest of us
up here but I know I’m getting a little grayer we need it from you the young
people because remember this so you got to get out there you got to give it
everything you got whether it’s your time your your your
talent your prayers or your treasures because remember this you will never see
a u-haul behind a hearse I’ll say it again you will never see a
u-haul behind a hearse you can’t take it with you the Egyptians tried it and all
they got was robbed so the question is what are you going to do with what you
have I’m not talking about how much you have some of you are business majors
some of you are theologians nurses sociologists some of you have money some
of you have patients some of you have kindness some of you have loved some of
you have the gift of long-suffering whatever it is whatever your gift is
what are you going to do with what you have all right now here’s my last point
about failure sometimes it’s the best way to figure out where you’re going
your life will never be a straight path I began at Fordham University as a
pre-med student I took a course called the cardiac morphus I still can’t say it
cardiac cardiac morphogenesis I couldn’t read it I couldn’t say it that sure
couldn’t pass it so then I decided to go into pre-law then journalism and with no
academic focus my grades took off in their own direction yeah down I was a 1.8 GPA one semester
and the University very politely suggested that it might be better to
take some time off I was twenty years old
I was at my lowest point and then one day and I remember the exact day March
27 1975 I was helping my mother in her beauty shop my mother owned the beauty
shop up in my Vernon and there’s there was this older woman who was considered
one of the elders in the town and I didn’t know her personally but I was
looking in the mirror and every time I looked at the mirror I could see her
behind me and she was staring at me she just kept looking at me every time I
looked at it she kept giving me these strange looks so she finally took the
dryer off her head and says to something she said something I’ll never forget
first of all she said somebody give me a piece of paper give me a piece of paper
she said young boy I have a prophecy a spiritual prophecy she said you are
going to travel the world and speak to millions of people now mind you I’m 20
years old I’m flunked out of school in fact like a wiseass I’m thinking to
myself maybe she’s got something in that crystal ball about me getting back into
school next fall but maybe she was onto something because later that summer
while working as a counselor to YMCA camp in Connecticut we put on a talent
show for the campers and after the show another counselor came up to me and
asked have you ever thought about acting you’re good at that
so when I got back to Fordham that fall I got in and I changed my major once
again for the last time and in the years that follow just as that woman
prophesized I have traveled the world and I have spoken to millions of people
through my movies one more page now shut up let me conclude with this one final
point and actually the president kind of brought it up has to do with the movie
Philadelphia she stole my material
many years ago I did this movie called Philadelphia
we filmed some of the scenes right here on campus Philadelphia came out in 1993
most of you were probably still in diapers
some of the professor’s too but that cracked me up but it was a good movie
renting on it what do you call it Netflix it’s good movie renting I get 23
cents every time you rent it please true parents up their rent rent rented
Netflix please tell your friends – it’s about a
man played by Tom Hanks who’s fired from his law firm because he has AIDS he
wants to sue the firm but no one’s willing to represent him until the
homophobic ambulance chaser lawyer played by yours truly takes on the case
in a way if you watch the movie you’ll see everything I’m talking about today
you’ll see what I mean about taking risk or being willing to fail because taking
risk is not just about going for a job it’s also about knowing what you know
and what you don’t know it’s about being open to people and to ideas in the
course of the film the character I play begins to take small steps small risks
he’s very very very slowly begins to overcome his fears and I feel ultimately
his heart becomes flooded with love and I can’t think of a better message as we
send you off today to not only take risks but to be open to life to accept
new views and to be open to new opinions to be willing to speak at a commencement
at one of the best country vesica the universities in the country even though
you’re scared stiff while it may be frightening
it will also be rewarding because the chances you take the people you meet the
people you love the faith that you have that’s what’s going to define you so
members of the class of 2011 this is your mission
when you leave the friendly confines of Philly never be discouraged never hold
back give everything you’ve got and when you fall throughout life and maybe even
tonight after a few many glasses of champagne
remember this fall forward congratulations I love you god bless you