Dream Big

Members of the Class of 2016 join Mo Rocca, <em>CBS Sunday Morning</em> correspondent and panelist for NPR’s <em>Wait, Wait … Don’t Tell Me!</em> for a pre-commencement reception.

At the end of each weekly CBS episode of The Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation, host Mo Rocca encourages young viewers to “Dream big; don’t quit.” Addressing seniors at Commencement 2016, the well-known humorist, journalist, writer, and actor shared similar advice—and a little about his own brand-new-grad adventures—in classically quirky Rocca style:

“Some of you may not know exactly what you want to do or who you want to be. Your brain may be whiting out from too much possibility. …

“I did what most people do when a clear path doesn’t present itself: I moved to Japan to study Kabuki while teaching English to support myself. Eventually I moved back home, earned money as a roller-skating waiter, then made my way to New York, where I auditioned for musical theatre, eventually getting cast in the Southeast Asia tour of the musical Grease. Standing room only in Jakarta. I played Doody.

“From Kabuki to Doody: Those were my first three years. They may seem random. But I was doing the best thing I think you can do when you don’t know exactly what you want: I was saying Yes. …

“If you don’t know exactly what you want, count yourself lucky: Your life will unfold like the best kind of story—one with plot twists, suspense, irony, hopefully lots of lovers (I’ve always wanted to use the word ‘lovers’ in a commencement speech) and a happy ending. …

“[And] if you’ve still got your grandparents, spend time with them. So many of the virtues espoused by people your age—being true to yourself, speaking your mind, not being overly concerned with other people’s opinions—are actually embodied by your grandparents.”