A standard line in a lot of commencement speeches announces that students are now entering the “real world,” presumably as opposed to the “ivory tower” of higher education. At McNally Smith we have a very different philosophy — we endeavor to immerse students in every aspect of the “real world” of making a life in music from day one. When our students leave, they are not simply preparing to begin their careers because in most cases they’ve already started.
We were thrilled and honored to have Yancey Strickler as our commencement speak this year. Yancey is one of the co-founders of Kickstarter, the enormously impactful funding mechanism that has allowed more than 38,000 creative folks to raise over half a billion dollars from their friends, fans, and believers in support of all manner of artistic and inventive projects.
It’s nice to have a commencement speaker who has accomplished much in a long and distinguished lifetime, but in my opinion, it’s perhaps even more inspirational and relevant to hear from a dynamic young person who has changed the way money flows to creative projects. Having already changed the present, Yancey Strickler is proactively helping to create the future.
I’ve included a video of the entire commencement ceremony which has my own charge to the class, two outstanding student speakers — Lauren McCauley and Adam Conrad — a stunning performance by our Contemporary Vocal Ensemble, and of course the commencement address by Yancey Strickler (if you want to jump right to Yancey’s speech it begins at about 48:40). Enjoy!