It's almost graduation time, and the University of Miami has unveiled a surprising commencement speaker. None other than Jimmy Buffett, he of "Margaritaville" and "Cheeseburger in Paradise" fame, will deliver the keynote address at one of six ceremonies this Friday.
Of course, it's easy to cast off Buffett as the embodiment of a certain type of beach and boat culture, but the guy is a successful businessman, philanthropist, and bestselling author who's worth more than $300 million. In other words, he probably has some good advice.
Buffett previously gave a graduation address at the American School in Morocco, but this is Jimmy's first go-round giving graduates advice at a major American university. It's a daunting task. You're supposed to boil all of your accumulated life advice down to a single speech and impart it to kids ready to take on the world. A first-time commencement speaker might be well served by visiting NPR's collection of the best commencement speeches of all time.
In fact, New Times went through some of those speeches and decided to give Jimmy some help by taking them and adding a bit of trademarked Parrothead wisdom.
Twitter founder Biz Stone's 2011 Babson speech might be a good start for inspiration:
"Opportunity can be manufactured. Yes, you can wait around in your boat with a cold beer in your hand and a fishing pole in the other waiting for the fish to bite, but you can also chum the water a little bit to get the bigger fish all riled up and snap happy."
He could find inspiration in tennis legends Billie Jean King's 2000 address to UMass:
"The most important words that have helped me in life when things have gone right or when things have gone wrong are ‘it's 5 o'clock somewhere.'"
Buffett might have a look at New York Times columnist David Brook's 2007 Wake Forest talk:
"I’ve observed a few things about the few really great people I’ve had a chance to meet… They need to be around old fishing boats with names like Green Eyed Alice II. You and I require margaritas. They require flip-flops."
Or Sue Monk Kidd's 2010 speech to the graduating class of Scripps:
"One of the more powerful outbreaks of happiness and meaning in your life will occur when you pair your Heinz 57 and French-fried potatoes."
Maybe Sheryl Sandberg's 2011 Barnard address might stir some inspiration:
"Don’t let your fears overwhelm your desire. Let the barracudas you face — and there will be barracudas — be external, not internal."
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
What about Arianna Huffington's 2011 speech at Sarah Lawrence:
"A key component of margaritas is limes, which is not the absence of lemons, but rather not letting our lemons get in the way."
Or perhaps he'll take inspiration from Anita L. Defrantz's 2004 commencement speech to Connecticut College:
"Our challenge is to live the final stanza of a song you have heard or sung hundreds of times… to be just a cheeseburger in paradise!"