Education

Oprah Winfrey Advises Students at Harvard Commencement Address (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Oprah Winfrey was given an honorary degree by Harvard University and spoke at the school's 362nd commencement in Cambridge, Massachusetts on Thursday (video below).

Winfrey began her speech with her traditional exaggerated pronunciation technique: "Oh my goodness. I'm at HAAAARVARD! Not too many girls from rural Mississippi have made it all the way here to Cambridge. ... I consider today to be a defining milestone. While I may not have graduated from here, my personality is about as Harvard as they come."

"I want you to remember this. There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction," claimed Winfrey. "When you inevitably struggle and find yourself stuck in a hole, that is the story that will get you out."

To illustrate that struggle, according to USA Today, the billionaire talk show host recalled her problems with the OWN cable channel, which she started with the Discovery Network: "I thought I'm going to turn this thing around and be better for it. I have turned that network around!"

Oprah seemed to take a jab at Facebook at one point: "Even though this is the college where Facebook was born, my hope is that you will have the courage to go out and have conversations with people you disagree with. What you learn, teach; what you get, give. That, my friends, is what gives your life purpose and meaning."

The Associated Press reports that Winfrey also recalled that after her interviews with Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and singer Beyonce, they all asked the question: "Was that okay?"

According to Winfrey, she has learned by interviewing that people want to be validated and know that they're being understood.

Sources: Associated Press and USA Today