Oprah, Spielberg surprise college grads with heartfelt commencement speeches on John Krasinski's web show

Patrick Ryan, USA TODAY
·2 min read

Leave it to John Krasinski to throw the most star-studded "graduation" ever.

Many college students are missing out on formal graduation ceremonies amid the coronavirus pandemic. So on Sunday's episode of his "Some Good News" web series, "The Office" alum surprised a handful of new graduates around the world with personal commencement speeches from big names such as Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, Jon Stewart and human rights activist Malala Yousafzai.

When asked for advice by Amanda, a recent Harvard graduate, Winfrey recounted her early career as a TV news anchor in Baltimore when she was 22.

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After working there for roughly six months, "(I was) called in by the bosses and told I’m no longer going to be needed on the news. I thought it was an April Fool’s joke," Winfrey said. "What they did was, instead of firing me, put me on the local talk show. And the day I did my first talk show, I felt like I had come home to myself. I believe that failure is an opportunity to move yourself in a different direction. It gets better, because you learn the lessons from the first time."

Spielberg, addressing another recent graduate named Ben in a separate virtual chat, shared the power of dreams during challenging times.

"A real dream is not only something that will hang on to you, but you will hang on to it," Spielberg said. "And it will power you through every obstacle that people and the environment will throw against you. Because if we are in service of our dreams versus our dreams being in service to us, it becomes something greater."

Last month, Krasinski spread joy to high-school students with a virtual prom featuring performances from Billie Eilish and the Jonas Brothers, and a cameo from his "Office" co-star Rainn Wilson.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: John Krasinski taps Oprah, Steven Spielberg for virtual graduation