Random House Authors Share Words of Inspiration for 2020 Grads at Virtual Commencement

By Spenser Stevens | May 19 2020 | General

A diverse cast of Random House authors toasted and shared words of inspiration for the Class of 2020 at a Virtual Commencement via Zoom last week.  Martha Stewart, George Saunders, Lauren Graham, Donovan Livingston, Wes Moore, Reshma Saujani,  David Brooks, and Anna Quindlen presented stirring commencement speeches.

Here are some noteworthy comments:


  • “Maybe throwing out plans is the secret to living a really satisfying life. Maybe the checklist was always an empty exercise. Maybe this is the perfect moment to embrace a way of doing things we’ve never embraced before … Do we want our lives to be a resume or an adventure? … The graduates this year, the class of 2020, are entering a world turned upside down. That should send them a message, the old ways—hallelujah!—can be cast aside … be brave, take the leap… courage, and god speed.” —Anna Quindlen


  • “Because it won’t always be this way I challenge you to resist the desire for a return to normalcy … I challenge you to envision a new normal that is intersectional and inclusive, that sees progress and asks, ‘Who are we leaving behind?”” —Donovan Livingston


  • “Some of the biggest acts of bravery and courage have come in times of crisis. We know we have to keep our heads up, our feet moving, and keep moving forward.” —Reshma Saujani


  • “Never forget who it is that we’re supposed to be fighting for…The question that will be repeatedly asked of you is who did you choose to fight for when it mattered?” —Wes Moore


  • “It’s good for the world for a writer to bear witness, and it’s good for the writer, too. Especially if she can bear witness with love and humor and, despite it all, some fondness for the world, just as it is manifesting, warts and all.” —George Saunders


  • “We’ll live through all of this and find a new future.” —Martha Stewart