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Lily Gladstone gives commencement speech at UM graduation

Graduates at the UM commencement ceremony, Missoula
Posted at 5:28 PM, May 11, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-13 12:30:55-04

MISSOULA — It’s the end of one journey and the start of a new one, that’s the story for everyone who walked across the stage at Saturday's University of Montana graduation.

The University of Montana held its spring commencement ceremony for the class of 2024 on Saturday at the Adams Center.

The ceremony was highlighted by performances, special presentations, and a commencement speech by award-winning actress and UM Alumni Lily Gladstone.

Gladstone received an honorary doctorate from the University of Montana and then spoke on her journey that brought her to this moment, she gave to all the graduates on how to take the next step in life.

Lily Gladstone receiving her honorary doctorate, Missoula
Lily Gladstone receiving her honorary doctorate, Missoula

“I don’t know where all of your compasses point you but trust that, whatever brought you here that same voice is gonna guide you from here on out,” Gladstone said. “Talking about how life moves in circles you’ve completed a round of four years to get this degree you’ve come full circle.”

Gladstone also had a special message for the first-generation college graduates in attendance.

“Like me, y’all might be the first but you’re definitely not going to be the last. You’ve opened a door for the rest of your family, the rest of your communities. And it probably took a little extra courage to get through it without necessarily having a guide to call home to and ask about what their experience was you forged your path I have immense respect for all of you.”

Gladstone’s speech especially resonated with graduate Justin Ras who graduated with a Masters in Media Arts. Ras is Native American himself, and Gladstone’s journey working in arts is an inspiration to him.

She’s one of my heroes right now you know because you know going into filmmaking and being an indigenous filmmaker she’s really a champion of indigenous perspective,” Ras said.
“It’s just so great her whole journey… I was able to meet her before I worked on a small project with her and she’s just a really awesome person.”

Gladstone ended her speech with a simple message for everyone.

“Be well be safe, safe travels to everybody wherever you return to from here, and yeah have some fun.

Lily Gladstone's full commencement speech can be viewed below:

Lily Gladstone UM Commencement Speech