23 Proud Graduation Quotes for a College Graduation

Nearing the end of your college life is an exciting accomplishment for any graduate in your life! For many, this is the first step into a new beginning and new opportunities.

Before they move into, what I’m sure is to be a bright future, it’s time to celebrate the end of their tough journey.

Whether you throw them a party filled with family and friends, give them a sentimental gift, or both, odds are you’ll have some words of advice to share as well. 

This is a big day in their journey of life and finding the right words during this exciting time can be tough.

In this post I’ll be sharing a few quotes that would make inspirational graduation quotes. You can use these quotes for best wishes on a graduation card, or turn them into graduation gifts.

In addition to the inspirational quotes, I’ll be ending the post with a couple of gift ideas for the special occasion. 

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24 Proud Graduation Quotes

If you are on the hunt for the best graduation quote to encourage the college graduate in your life, look no further.

Here are 23 quotes from some of the most influential and powerful people, in history and in the present, to pass on some encouragement for their great achievement and next adventure.

“Follow your passion. It will lead you to your purpose.” – Oprah 

We love this quote from Oprah because it encourages graduates to follow their dreams with passion, without fear of failure. Passion and purpose are key ingredients for a successful life!

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” – Steve Jobs 

This quote from the late Steve Jobs encourages graduates to focus on the things they want out of life and not follow the same path as everyone else. It’s a great reminder to follow your own unique path and make the most of your life!

“My dear terrified graduates, you are about to enter the most uncertain and thrilling period of your lives.” – Lin-Manuel Miranda

This quote is a great reminder that the future is full of possibilities and the only thing holding us back is our own fear. Graduates should use this quote to stay positive and believe in themselves as they embark on their next journey.

“When we show up, act boldly, and practice the best ways to be wrong, we fail forward. No matter where we end up, we’ve grown from where we began.” – Stacey Abrams

This particular quote is a great reminder that failure is part of life and it’s how we handle it and move forward that counts.

Graduates should use this quote to keep in mind that no matter where they end up, growth will come from the challenges they face.

“Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success. You’ve got to take risks.” – Denzel Washington

Failing forward is an important concept to remember as graduates enter the real world. Everyone fails sometimes, but it’s how you move on from those failures that truly counts.

This quote is a great reminder that taking risks can lead to great rewards and should be embraced rather than shied away from.

“Knowledge is not power. The implementation of knowledge is power.” – Larry Winget

This quote is the best reminder that success doesn’t come from knowledge alone, but the act of implementing what you know and learning from mistakes. Graduates should use this quote to motivate them to take action and never stop learning.

“The only thing you can do in this life is pursue your passions, celebrate your bloopers, and never stop following your fear.” – Grace Helbig

This is such an inspiring quote that encourages graduates to keep on pushing and never give up. It’s a great reminder that the bloopers will happen, but they should be embraced as part of the journey to success.

Graduates should use this quote to stay motivated and focused on achieving their goals no matter what obstacles may come their way!

“I hope you trust in the timing of your life and that you follow your own path without worrying so much about what everyone else is doing or how fast they are moving.” – Colleen George

Trusting the timing of your life is always a good reminder for graduates. It’s important to remember that everyone has their own unique path and it might take time before the big successes come.

This quote is a great reminder to focus on your own journey and never compare yourself to others. Use this quote as motivation to keep moving forward, no matter how long it takes!

“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.” – William Arthur Ward

This quote from William Arthur Ward is a great reminder to stay positive and believe in yourself. Graduates should use this quote to keep their dreams alive, remain focused on their goals, and work hard to make them come true!

No matter what the future holds for graduates, these inspiring quotes will serve as a source of motivation during their journeys. They encourage graduates to follow their own paths, take risks, and never give up.

As graduates move forward in their lives, these quotes should be used as reminders to stay positive and keep striving for success!

“The only impossible journey is the one you never begin.” – Anthony Robbins

Beginning is the hardest part. This quote from Anthony Robbins is a great reminder to take action, even when the task seems daunting.

Graduates should use this quote to stay courageous and never let fear stop them from taking the first steps towards their dreams.

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

This is another inspiring quote that encourages graduates to stay focused on their dreams and never give up. Graduates should use this quote to keep believing in themselves and the beauty of their future!

No matter what life brings, these quotes are a source of motivation for graduates facing uncertainty. They remind us all to take risks, trust the timing of our lives, and to never stop believing in the beauty of our dreams. With these inspirational words in mind, graduates can start their journey with confidence and courage!

“Your education is a dress rehearsal for a life that is yours to lead.” – Nora Ephron

This is an excellent quote to remember when entering the real world. It serves as a reminder that graduates should use their education as practice for the life ahead of them.

Education is about more than just knowledge and grades, it’s about learning how to navigate through life and finding success in whatever path you choose. Graduates should use this quote for motivation to make the most of their education and never stop learning.

These quotes provide an inspirational reminder to graduates that they should embrace each step of their journey, take risks, and never stop pursuing what makes them happy. As they move into the real world, these words will serve as a source of motivation and encouragement!

“I’m continually trying to make choices that put me out of my own comfort zone. As long as you’re uncomfortable it means you’re growing.” —Ashton Kutcher

This quote from Ashton Kutcher is a great reminder for graduates to push their boundaries and try new things. Graduates should use this quote as motivation to step out of their comfort zone, take risks, and learn something new every day.

Taking calculated risks can open the door to possibilities and opportunities that may not have been available otherwise. This quote serves as a reminder that it’s okay to be uncomfortable, because growth and success often come from stepping out of our comfort zone.

These inspiring words can help graduates take the leap of faith they need to achieve their goals and pursue their dreams.

“Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

This quote from Nelson Mandela emphasizes the importance of education and its power to shape our future. Graduates should use this quote as a reminder to never stop learning, growing, and expanding their knowledge.

Education can open unexpected doors, create opportunities, and provide valuable skills that will be beneficial in every aspect of life.

“Your path is your character defining itself more and more every day, like a photograph coming into focus.” – Jodie Foster

This quote from Jodie Foster is a great reminder for graduates to continue exploring and discovering who they are. Graduates should use this inspiration to stay true to themselves, trust their instincts, and follow their hearts.

Your path in life will be unique to you, so don’t be afraid to take risks and explore different options to find what you’re passionate about. Graduates should use this quote for motivation to stay on their path and never give up on themselves!

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.” – Henry David Thoreau

This quote from Henry David Thoreau is a reminder to graduates that they should have faith in themselves and their dreams. Graduates should use this inspiration to believe in their future, take risks, and never give up on what they want.

It’s important for graduates to remember that anything is possible if they stay focused and work hard. This quote serves as a reminder to go confidently in the direction of their dreams and live the life they have imagined!

“Your life is your story, and the adventure ahead of you is the journey to fulfill your own purpose and potential.” – Kerry Washington

This quote from Kerry Washington is a great reminder to graduates that their life is theirs to craft. Graduates should use this inspiration to write their own story and never give up on their dreams.

It’s important for graduates to remember that the adventure ahead of them is full of possibilities, and they have the power to shape their future. This quote serves as an uplifting reminder that they should strive to reach their potential and fulfill their purpose!

“Hard things will happen to us. We will recover, we will learn from it, we will grow more resilient because of it. And as long as we are fortunate enough to be breathing, we will breathe in, breathe through, breathe deep, and breathe out.” – Taylor Swift

This quote from Taylor Swift is a powerful reminder to graduate that life can be difficult, but they will make it through. Graduates should use this inspiration to stay strong and resilient in the face of adversity.

It’s important for graduates to remember that no matter what hardships they face, they have the strength and determination to overcome them. This quote serves as a reminder to never give up, breathe deep, and keep pushing forward to reach their goals!

Graduates should use these inspiring quotes for motivation and encouragement on their journey. These words will help them stay focused, trust their instincts, and never give up on their dreams!

“The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.” – Ayn Rand

This quote from Ayn Rand is a reminder to graduates that they should never let anyone or anything stand in the way of what they want.

“All our dreams can come true … if we have the courage to pursue them.” – Walt Disney

This quote from Walt Disney is a reminder to graduates that they should always have the courage to pursue their dreams. Graduates should use this inspiration to stay focused and never give up on what they want in life.

It’s important for graduates to remember that success comes from believing in yourself, taking risks, and pushing through difficult times.

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice, and most of all, love of what you are doing.” -Pele

This quote reminds us that success doesn’t simply happen to us, it’s something we play an active part in.

“It’s your turn to choose and define what success means to you. Now, others will try to define it for you, but yours is the only voice that matters.” — Octavia Spencer

This quote reminds us that success is not pre-determined for us. We get to decide what success means for our own lives. Graduates should use this inspiration to take control of their lives and pursue what they want with passion and dedication.

“Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.” – Tom Brokaw

This quote from Tom Brokaw is a great reminder to graduates that they have the power to use their degree and make an impact on the world. Graduates should take this inspiration to heart and strive to make a positive difference in the world.

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

This quote from Theodore Roosevelt serves as a reminder to graduates that when they believe in themselves and their dreams, anything is possible. Graduates should use this inspiration to stay motivated and focused on achieving their goals!

7 Graduate Gifts To Give This Year

To take the inspiration up a notch, consider adding a quote to a gift for your proud graduate. As they move into this next chapter of their life, it will serve as a great reminder of all the years of hard work they put in to get where they are now.

If you need some ideas, check out these items that would make great gifts for the special day.      

Congratulations Card

Whether you are attending a high school graduation or a college graduation, you can’t go wrong with a graduation card.Cards are a great way to convey warm wishes to your special graduate.

You can write more than “congrats graduate” in the card, leaving a short, inspirational quote is a great way to give a little extra encouragement.

Signed Oh The Places You’ll Go Book

This classic Dr. Suess’ book isn’t just for children. It can be quite inspirational for a graduation present as well. To make it extra special you could make it a group present.

Have family and friends of the graduate write their graduation wishes, inspirational quotes, and other graduation messages throughout the book. This would make a deeply personalized gift to celebrate their outstanding achievement.

School Photo Album

This could work one of two ways. If you are celebrating a recent high school graduate, this could be for their future college memories.

If you are celebrating a recent college graduate this could be a present for their warm memories of college life. You can usually find school-themed products at their bookstore or online.

Wall Art

If the graduate in your life likes interior decorating, this would be a great gift for them. You could find a piece of art that has their favorite inspirational quote on it, or maybe one of the quotes from above.

There are a variety of options when it comes to wall art. From size, to color, to medium, you have the opportunity to pick something truly special.

Shadow Box

Decorating grad caps are a fun way to commemorate the long journey that someone has been through when graduation season has arrived.

People decorate their caps in many different ways, some even put motivational quotes on them. What happens after graduation day though? That’s where this gift comes in.

A Shadow Box is great for storing decorative things, and still making it wall art. It’s the perfect way to store and display a grad cap. 


Next up on the possible gift list is a Tumbler. This is another product where the options are endless. If you purchase one through Etsy you’ll be able to work with the seller to make a beautiful product your graduate will love.

Celebrate all of the great things they have accomplished by picking out a great quote to display on the tumbler. That way every time they take a drink from it, they are reminded of how accomplished they are.

Affirmation Jar

The last gift on the list is the most DIY-based. For this one you’ll want to write down all the quotes from above, some affirmations, and maybe even some personal messages on strips of paper.

You can do however many you want, I recommend doing at least 30. Once you are done writing them down, fold them up and stuff them in a jar.

The idea is that your recent graduate is to pick one out each day for some daily encouragement.

In Summary: Proud Graduation Quotes for College Graduation

College graduation is a time to be proud of. Your graduate has just accomplished something huge! To help them celebrate this special time, you could give them a graduation gift as a reminder of their hard work.

Congratulations cards, Dr Seuss’ “Oh the Places You’ll Go” book, a school-themed photo album, wall art or shadow box to display their decorated grad cap, tumbler with an inspirational quote, or an affirmation jar are all great present ideas.

Whether you pick something store-bought or DIY, your graduate will be sure to appreciate the thought and effort that went into their special gift. Good luck!!

Do you have someone in your life that will be graduating soon? Let me know in the comments below.

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About the Author

Kelly Clark

Kelly graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Advertising and Public Relations and a minor in Journalism. Even though it took her a little while to find her career path, she was always meant to be in Communications. She remembers writing poems and songs when she was a little girl and pitching to my parents the reasons why I should have a cell phone when I was a teenager. She currently has a blog (budding-joy.com) where she talks about her weight-loss journey, mental health and personal development. Her hope is to encourage and inspire readers and let them know they are not alone. Reading blog posts like that are what helped her in tough times and she wants to pay it forward. She loves dance fitness, listening to music, and creating layouts in her bullet journal. She’s a big fan of planning, especially when cute notebooks and pens are involved.
Her dream job has changed so much over the years; right now she’d love to co-own a dance studio.

Website: budding-joy.com