GOOD

Hurricane Katrina struck just as I had begun my last year in architectural school at Tulane in New Orleans. Charity Hospital had served impoverished New Orleans residents for more than 80 years. It was first built in the 1920s with fully operable windows, but when the hospital underwent mechanical system retrofitting years ago, the windows were sealed shut. A mechanical ventilation system was substituted for fresh air. The system failed during the storm, internal temperatures rose to over 100 degrees, and the building was subsequently evacuated. Taking more than 1,000 lives and forever changing the city, the hurricane profoundly demonstrated how fragile our healthcare buildings are.

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Ten Commencement Speakers You Wish You'd Had

These ten speakers inspired but still kept it real with their audiences, making their graduation speeches memorable years after they were given.


Graduation is an exciting time, but let's face it: Commencement speeches aren't always memorable. A completely unscientific poll of the GOOD office revealed that almost none of us recall our college commencement speakers, or what they said to us (although we suspect it was something like, "You've worked hard! Yay!"). So here are 10 commencement speakers—and their inspiring, funny, and just plain on-point words of wisdom—that we wish we'd heard on graduation day.

1. Steve Jobs, Stanford University, 2005: Jobs hits all the right notes in this speech, in which he shares his own humble upbringings and reflects on his pancreatic cancer diagnosis. He told the crowd, "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

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GOOD's Guide to NOLA Basics originally appeared in GOOD Magazine's New Orleans Issue. Read more from the magazine here.

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With geography and climate change working against it, New Orleans prepares for the future. GOOD assesses its resiliency plan.

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Ike: A Year Later

Hurricane Ike remains a strange moment in our nations recent history. In a world where Hurricane Katrina hadn't happened, it would have been huge...

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