90 Inspiring Graduation Quotes for the Class of 2024

Graduation is more than just a ceremony; it’s the culmination of hard work, dreams, and the threshold of a new beginning for our young adults. We want to offer hope and encouragement and let our graduates know how proud we are. As they prepare to turn the page to an exciting new chapter, the right words can serve as a powerful beacon of wisdom and encouragement. 

Whether you are a proud parent, a teacher, or a family member, these X graduation quotes will mark this significant milestone with just the right sentiment. From the stirring words of contemporary icons to the timeless wisdom of historical figures, these quotes capture the essence of graduation: A time of reflection, joy, and looking forward to the future.

Great graduation quotes (Via Wikimedia Commons)
  • Graduation Quotes from Historical Figures 
  • Graduation Quotes from Movies 
  • Graduation Quotes from Famous Graduation Speeches
  • Graduation Quotes from Famous Songs
  • Graduation quotes from Books

Graduation Quotes from Historical Figures 

  1. “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt
  2. “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” Henry David Thoreau
  3. “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go, instead, where there is no path, and leave a trail.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
  4. “Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.” Albert Schweitzer
  5. “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
  6. “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
  7. “Your life is your story, and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential.” Kerry Washington
  8. “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Nelson Mandela
  9. Be bold, be courageous, be your best.” Gabrielle Giffords
  10. “The best way to predict your future is to create it.” Abraham Lincoln
  11. “The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
  12. “Do not wait to strike till the iron is hot; but make it hot by striking.” William Butler Yeats
  13. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King Jr.
  14. “The future belongs to those who prepare for it today.” Malcolm X
  15. “Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.” Albert Einstein
  16. “Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” Theodore Roosevelt
  17. “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis
  18. “You can never be overdressed or overeducated.” – Oscar Wilde
  19. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Winston Churchill
  20. “It always seems impossible until it is done.” Nelson Mandela
  21. “The best thing about the future is that it comes one day at a time.” Abraham Lincoln
  22. “The future depends on what you do today.” Mahatma Gandhi
  23. “Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” John D. Rockefeller
  24. “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt
  25. “The best revenge is massive success.” Frank Sinatra
  26. “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Wayne Gretzky

Graduation Quotes from Movies 

  1. “Don’t ever let someone tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me.” The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
  2. “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.” Rocky Balboa (2006)
  3. “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002)
  4. “Remember who you are.” The Lion King (1994)
  5. “Carpe diem. Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.” Dead Poets Society (1989)
  6. “Just keep swimming.” Finding Nemo (2003) 
  7. “Why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves back up.” The Dark Knight (2008)
  8. “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.” Forrest Gump (1994)
  9. “The only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability.” Ratatouille (2007)
  10. “Do. Or do not. There is no try.” Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980) 
  11.  “You must always have faith in people. And most importantly, you must always have faith in yourself.” Legally Blonde (2001)
  12. “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
  13. “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.” A League of Their Own (1992) 
  14. “Every man dies, but not every man really lives.” Braveheart (1995)
  15. “The thing that makes Woody special is he’ll never give up on you… ever.” Toy Story 3 (2010)
  16. “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” The Matrix (1999)
  17. “It’s not about what you deserve, it’s about what you believe.” Wonder Woman (2017)
  18. “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.” Coach Carter (2005)
  19. “You cannot live your life to please others. The choice must be yours.” “Alice In Wonderland“ (2010)
  20. “After a while, you learn to ignore the names people call you and just trust who you are.” Shrek The Third (2010)

Graduation Quotes from Famous Graduation Speeches

  1. “Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.” Denzel Washington, University of Pennsylvania, 2011
  2. “Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.” Shonda Rhimes, Dartmouth College, 2014
  3. “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” Admiral William H. McRaven, University of Texas at Austin, 2014
  4. “Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” Nora Ephron, Wellesley College, 1996
  5. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005
  6.  “Change requires more than righteous anger. It requires a program, and it requires organizing.” Barack Obama, Howard University, 2016
  7. “Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that.” Ellen DeGeneres, Tulane University, 2009
  8. “It’s your turn to shape the world to fit your values and your dreams.” Michelle Obama, City College of New York, 2016
  9. “You will find true success and happiness if you have only one goal, there really is only one, and that is this: to fulfill the highest, most truthful expression of yourself as a human being.” Oprah Winfrey, Harvard University, 2013
  10. “When life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again.” Sheryl Sandberg, UC Berkeley, 2016
  11. “There is no script. Live your life. Soak it all in.” Conan O’Brien, Dartmouth College, 2011
  12. “It’s harder to be kind than clever.” Jeff Bezos, Princeton University, 2010
  13. “This is your time and it feels normal to you but really there is no normal. There’s only change, and resistance to it and then more change.” Meryl Streep, Barnard College, 2010
  14. “The sidelines are not where you want to live your life. The world needs you in the arena.” Tim Cook, MIT, 2017
  15. “As you look ahead to the challenges of life, it’s important to remember that how you deal with them is as important as what you achieve.” Bill Gates, Harvard University, 2007
  16. “Remember, any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” Jill Biden, Navajo Technical University, 2013
  17. “Life is an improvisation. You have no idea what’s going to happen next and you are mostly just making things up as you go along.” Stephen Colbert, Northwestern University, 2011
  18. “Your standardized ideologies will not always fit your life. Because life is messy.” Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Wellesley College, 2015

Graduation Quotes from Famous Songs

  1. “You’re gonna miss this. You’re gonna want this back. You’re gonna wish these days hadn’t gone by so fast.” You’re Gonna Miss This by Trace Adkins
  2. “You just gotta ignite the light, and let it shine.” “Firework” by Katy Perry
  3. “Don’t stop believin’, hold on to that feelin’.” “Don’t Stop Believin'” by Journey
  4. “Feel the rain on your skin, no one else can feel it for you.” “Unwritten” by Natasha Bedingfield
  5. “My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to. Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small.” My Wish by Rascal Flatts
  6. “And may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows. And may the road less paved be the road that you follow.” Have it All by Jason Mraz
  7. “If I can see it, then I can do it. If I just believe it, there’s nothing to it.” “I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly:
  8. “Standing in the hall of fame, and the world’s gonna know your name.” “Hall of Fame” by The Script feat. will.i.am
  9. “But I keep cruising, can’t stop, won’t stop moving.” “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift
  10. “Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out, honestly I wanna see you be brave.” “Brave” by Sara Bareilles
  11. “It’s something unpredictable, but in the end is right, I hope you had the time of your life.” “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” by Green Day
  12. “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, stand a little taller.” “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” by Kelly Clarkson
  13. “I, I did it all. I, I did it all. I owned every second that this world could give.” “I Lived” by OneRepublic
  14. “I’ll spread my wings, and I’ll learn how to fly. I’ll do what it takes till I touch the sky.” Breakaway” by Kelly Clarkson
  15. “And when the night is cloudy, there is still a light that shines on me, shine until tomorrow, let it be.” “Let It Be” by The Beatles
  16. “This is my fight song, take back my life song, prove I’m alright song.” “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten
  17. “Dream on, dream on, dream until your dreams come true.” “Dream On” by Aerosmith

Graduation Quotes from Books

  1. “When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho
  2. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.” “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee:
  3. “It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.” “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” by J.K. Rowling
  4. “I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.” “Little Women” by Louisa May Alcott
  5. “It is not down on any map; true places never are.” “Moby-Dick” by Herman Melville
  6. “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” “The Lord of the Rings” by J.R.R. Tolkien
  7. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost (from his poetry book)
  8. “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank
  9. “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.” “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss

More Great Lists:

90 Good Movies to Watch With Your Teen or College Kid (2023)

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About Lisa Endlich Heffernan

Lisa (Endlich) Heffernan is the co-founder of Grown and Flown, the #1 site for parents of teens, college students and young adults, reaching millions of parents every month. Lisa is a New York Times bestselling author.
She started the Grown and Flown Parents Facebook Group and is co-author of Grown and Flown: How to Support Your Teen, Stay Close as a Family, and Raise Independent Adults (Flatiron Books) now in paperback.

Read more posts by Lisa

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