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Apple's Tim Cook tells GW grads: Ignore the cynics, change the world like Steve Jobs did

Bob Brown | May 19, 2015
Transcript of Apple CEO Tim Cook's commencement address at George Washington University.

Tim Cook Apple CEO George Washington University commencement speech transcript 2015
Apple CEO to George Washington University grads: "I'd like to take one photo of you, because this is the best view in the world. And it's a great one." Credit: George Washington University

Apple CEO Tim Cook delivered the commencement address to the George Washington University Class of 2015 on Sunday, May 17. He reflected on negative and positive influences in his life, from Gov. George Wallace to President Jimmy Carter to Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, urged students to find their direction and to make a difference in the world. Here's the transcript from his talk as well as the video, which is below.

Hello GW.

Thank you very much President Knapp for that kind intro. Alex, trustees, faculty and deans of the university, my fellow honorees, and especially you the class of 2015. Yes.

Congratulations to you, to your family, to your friends that are attending today's ceremony. You made it. It's a privilege, a rare privilege of a lifetime to be with you today. And I think thank you enough for making me an honorary Colonial.

Before I begin today, they asked me to make a standard announcement. You've heard this before. About silencing your phones. Those of you with an iPhone, just place it in silent mode. If you don't have an iPhone, please pass it to the center aisle. Apple has a worldclass recycling program.

You know, this is really an amazing place. And for a lot of you, I'm sure that being here in Washington, the very center of our democracy, was a big draw when you were choosing which school to go to. This place has a powerful pull. It was here that Dr. Martin Luther King challenged Americans to make real the promises of democracy, to make justice a reality for all of God's children.

And it was here that President Ronald Reagan called on us to believe in ourselves and to believe in our capacity to perform great deeds. I'd like to start this morning by telling you about my first visit here. In the summer of 1977 yes, I'm a little old I was 16 years old and living in Robertsdale, the small town in southern Alabama that I grew up in. At the end of my junior year of high school I'd won an essay contest sponsored by the National Rural Electric Association. I can't remember what the essay was about, what I do remember very clearly is writing it by hand, draft after draft after draft. Typewriters were very expensive and my family could not afford one.


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