REUTERS: New Haven, CT
What follows is a transcript of the speech delivered by
Ellison, CEO and founder of Oracle, at the Yale University
graduation ceremony last month:
"Graduates of Yale University, I apologize if you have
endured this type of prologue before, but I want you to do
something for me. Please, take a good look around you. Look
at the classmate on your left. Look at the classmate on your
right. Now, consider this: five years from now, 10 years
from now, even 30 thirty years from now, odds are the person
on your left is going to be a loser. The person on your
right, meanwhile, will also be a loser. And you, in the
middle? What can you expect? Loser. Loserhood. Loser Cum
Laude. In fact, as I look out before me today, I don't see a
thousand hopes for a bright tomorrow. I don't see a thousand
future leaders in a thousand industries. I see a thousand
"You're upset. That's understandable. After all, how can I,
"Larry" Ellison, college dropout, have the audacity to spout
such heresy to the graduating class of one of the nation's
most prestigious institutions? I'll tell you why. Because I,
Lawrence "Larry" Ellison, second richest man on the planet,
am a college dropout, and you are not.
"Because Bill Gates, richest man on the planet -- for now,
anyway -- is a college dropout, and you are not.
"Because Paul Allen, the third richest man on the planet,
dropped out of college, and you did not.
"And for good measure, because Michael Dell, No. 9 on the
list and moving up fast, is a college dropout, and you, yet
again, are not.
"Hmm... you're very upset. That's understandable. So let me
stroke your egos for a moment by pointing out, quite
sincerely, that your diplomas were not attained in vain.
Most of you, I imagine, have spent four to five years here,
and in many ways what you've learned and endured will serve
you well in the years ahead. You've established good work
habits. You've established a network of people that will
help you down the road. And you've established what will be
lifelong relationships with the word "therapy." All that of
is good. For in truth, you will need that network.
"You will need those strong work habits. You will need that
therapy. You will need them because you didn't drop out, and
so you will never be among the richest people in the world.
Oh sure, you may, perhaps, work your way up to #10 or # 11,
like Steve Ballmer. But then, I don't have to tell you who
he really works for, do I? And for the record, he dropped
out of grad school. Bit of a late bloomer.
"Finally, I realize that many of you, and hopefully by now
most of you, are wondering, "Is there anything I can do? Is
there any hope for me at all ? Actually, no. It's too late.
You've absorbed too much, think you know too much. You're
not 19 anymore. You have a built-in cap, and I'm not
referring to the mortar boards on your heads.
"Hmm... you're really very upset. That's understandable. So
perhaps this would be a good time to bring up the silver
lining. Not for you, Class of '00. You are a write-off, so
I'll let you slink off to your pathetic $200,000 a year
jobs, where your checks will be signed by former classmates
who dropped out two years ago.
"Instead, I want to give hope to any underclassmen here
today. I say to you, and I can't stress this enough: leave.
Pack your things and your ideas and don't come back. Drop
out. Start up. For I can tell you that a cap and gown will
keep you down just as surely as these security guards
dragging me off this stage are keeping me dow...
The Oracle CEO was ushered off stage.