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The Ed Helms speech at the University of Virginia shares some of the actor's background while also...

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The Thoughtful Speech by Ed Helms Inspires New UVA Graduates

By: Alyson Wyers - May 26, 2015
References: youtu.be
In his thoughtful speech at the University of Virginia's valediction ceremony, Ed Helms discusses considering the world's complexities and the necessity to define yourself. The former cast member on NBC's The Office explains how the world will always be quick to define you (whether a millennial or UVA community member), but you should never let their labels make up your identity.

The actor cites recent events, such as the riots in Baltimore, to demonstrate "reductive labels" aren't helping society and we should stop applying them. Even though we are all guilty of casting wrong first impressions, questioning something doesn't mean you repudiate it.

The thoughtful speech encourages the audience to approach the world with humility, intellectual honesty and an ongoing effort to understand whole picture. The speaker motivates them to define themselves by their actions, convictions and responses. He asks them to take responsibility, and not to coast before closing with an a capella version of 'This Little Light of Mine."