New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts rarely lacks for great graduation speeches. Just last year, director and alumnus Martin Scorsese celebrated the 2014 Tisch class. This year, it was Scorsese’s frequent muse, Robert De Niro, who spoke to the 2015 class.
De Niro, after making his way through the formalities of such a speech, began with a simple statement: “Tisch graduates, you made it,” De Niro began. “And, you’re f–ked.”
De Niro then listed how the graduates from the many other schools that make up NYU will be secure in their post-collegiate job hunt (“The English majors are not a factor”). But for Tisch’s graduates, which include aspiring actors, writers, directors, and more, will have to enter a brave new world with — if not certainty — an ambition and passion they could not deny.
“You discovered a talent, developed an ambition, and recognized your passion,” he said. “When you feel that you can’t fight it, you just go for it. When it comes to the arts, passion should always trump common sense.”
“Yeah you’re f–ked,” De Niro added. “The good news is, that’s not a bad place to start.”
De Niro continued with an inspiring and hilarious speech from the ceremony—revealing he didn’t quite land the role of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, as well as telling stories from his career that actually happened. The ceremony, which was held at Madison Square Garden, can be viewed in full on Tisch’s website.