David Foster Wallace gave this commencement speech at Kenyon College in 2005. It's been read, shared, and loved ever since.
His topic was "living a compassionate life." He asked his listeners to live "consciously, adultly, day in and day out."
It's a good bet that the audience fortunate enough to hear David Foster Wallace deliver this commencement address at Kenyon College in 2005 will never forget it. Tens of thousands of others who were not there that day have since embraced it as well.
Here at the Monitor, we hear from readers every year at this time who tell us that they continue to read and re-read the words that Wallace spoke that graduation day.
Three years and some months after delivering this address, Wallace took his own life. A year later, his address at Kenyon was turned into a slender book called This Is Water. In a 2009 review of "This Is Water," Monitor book critic Alicia J. Rouverol wrote that the value of the speech is that it makes us think. "He makes us consider what’s beneath us and around us – like water," she wrote.