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MIT commencement speech - Matt Damon News Column
MIT commencement speech

  • Matt delivered the commencement speech at MIT on Friday in front of Lucy, their children, his parents and brother. The full text is available here, and video is available here. Matt received a pirate certificate after the speech. Reports are at the Boston Globe here and here.

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    Matt Damon had an important message to share with MIT graduates: “There is more at stake today than in every story that has ever been told.”

    Damon was equal parts fiery and inspiring while addressing students at MIT’s 2016 commencement ceremony Friday morning. He spent sections of his speech lambasting bankers and Donald Trump, touting Elizabeth Warren, and urging students to take the issues of income inequality and global warming seriously.

    Damon’s speech wasn’t 100 percent serious, however. He joked about attending Harvard University and walking with his graduating class despite never actually graduating. Damon dropped out 12 credits shy of completing a degree in English to pursue acting full-time.

    “You can imagine how excited I was when President Reif wanted me to speak at the MIT commencement, and how sorry I was to learn that the MIT commencement speaker does not get to go home with a degree,” Damon said. “So, yes, for the second time in my life, I’m fake graduating from a college in my hometown.”

    Damon ended his speech by telling graduates that the future belongs to them, but they need to tackle the pressing issues facing society immediately.

    “I hope you’ll turn toward the problem of your choosing,” Damon said. “And I hope you’ll drop everything, and I hope you’ll solve it.”

    “This is your life, class of 2016. This your moment. It is all down to you. Ready, player one; your game begins now.”

  • A new interview with Matt is at Sharp magazine, and scans of the Total Film interview are available here. A deleted scene from The Martian is at Yahoo.

  • There is a new Omaze competition to win a trip to the Jason Bourne world premiere in Las Vegas and meet Matt - details here.

33 comments or Leave a comment
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 01:16 pm (UTC) (Link)


First of all I want to say that Im the biggest fan of Matt Damon. However he keeps getting himself in trouble with political statements he's making that are sometimes taken out of context.

Last year with the whole project greenlight thing even though he wasn't wrong with that and the gay actors thing and the whole bashing trump during the MIT Commencement speech. Whether he is right or not, its best not to say anything that could potentially piss off a large segment of people. I mean America right now is a powder keg with the US election coming up and the social media age we live in, its best Damon keep his mouth shut and just let the films do the talking.

Someone from his publicist team needs to tell him to calm the hell down.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 03:06 pm (UTC) (Link)


Ha. I thought his speech was excellent. For a college commencement speech in the current political climate this was nothing. I sat through Michael Bloomberg's speech a few weeks ago at Univ of Mi and 75 percent of it was political with a lot of name calling and candidate bashing. I found little inspiration in Bllomberg's speech. He used it as a bully pulpit. Contrast that to Matt who focused on the students.

What I liked about this speech was that he brought 'Matt Damon'. He showed his actor side, played on his friendship with his buddy Ben, etc. It's no secret that he is a liberal so I thought the Trump comments were incredibly mild. What I loved about his speech is that ultimately he focused on the students, a group of some of the most brilliant minds in the world, and challenged them to do great things for mankind.

In my opinion, Matt delivered. By the way, I am a republican leaning person and even I am embarrassed by what this party is doing.

From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 03:46 pm (UTC) (Link)


I though it is an excellent speech. Why should he shut up and say nothing? He is invited to give the speech to the graduating class and he did just that. The speech is sincere and Inspiring. Everyone is entitled to his/her political views, he made a statement about his but also talking to the students. No matter where you stand politically, you have to agree there are too many problems in today's world and it is great for Matt to call out the younger generations to face the problem and to solve them!

I for one admire his courage and I am proud to be a fan even though I do not agree with his views all the time!

From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 03:48 pm (UTC) (Link)


It was an inspiring, humorous, and delightful speech, which radiated concern, intellect, humility, awareness, and personal commitment. Unlike Trump, Damon is empathetic, responsible, and socially conscious. That's why he was invited. That's why he's well respected. That's what it's his duty as an American to try to be.

I don't think you would react very well if I told you to keep your mouth shut, let your vote do the talking, and calm the hell down because I don't like your politics. It's not only impolite, it's unpatriotic. Donald Trump would act like that. Matt Damon never would.


From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 04:36 pm (UTC) (Link)


My two cents:
I'm not american, so I will not comment on american politics because there are things I don't understand well.
But I think, in general, Damon's speech was excellent and very inspiring.
Bravo for him for being sincere about his political views beyond the price he have to pay. It takes much civic courage to do that, and in a world of hypocrisy that is always appreciated.

From: iri_na_00 Date: June 4th, 2016 03:23 pm (UTC) (Link)


His speech was excellent. He is attacked by supporters of the Trump, they didn't hear his speech, they just read headlines. There was nothing wrong in his words. Why does Damon have to be silent? In America there is no longer freedom of speech and expression?

Edited at 2016-06-04 03:25 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 03:56 pm (UTC) (Link)


These pictures are beyond adorable! Matt has such a wonderful extended family. Wow, his nephews are growing up into really handsome dudes! Where does the time go?
Thanks, Felicity!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 05:15 pm (UTC) (Link)

RE: Photos

Paula i was thinking the same thing!
Jackson and Miles have gotten so big, and handsome just like their dad and uncle. Jackson is a spitting image of Kyle in my opinion.
Also his daughters are getting so big too, Isabella is beginning to look like a pre-teen!!
Wonderful photos Felicity!

From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 09:40 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Photos

Yeah, Isabella will be 10 next Saturday! Can you believe it, how time has flew!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 08:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Politics and Film

As you could see from my last post, I loved Matt's speech. I love his authenticity, and it so happens that what he says agrees well with what I think. But when we say he's brave because "he's willing to pay the price", we may be missing a point. Our boy can say what he likes, and he has the First Amendment to back him (and me, too), but the people who pay the price are all the people who worked on the movie, all the investors, all the distributors and all the exhibitors, not to mention other actors on the film who may have chosen back-end deals. It's a real quandary. Speak up and get into controversial areas or take a more spiritual path and bless the graduates with the emotionally charged good advice he gave. I don't have an answer; it will always be his choice, but other people do suffer. Long live "Jason Bourne" (I sure hope it does better than a 65 million opening, Paula!)and long live Matt Damon!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 09:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Politics and Film

And I'm not anonymous--I'm Louie! Don't know why I keep forgetting to sign!!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 10:38 pm (UTC) (Link)

RE: Politics and Film

Dear Anonymous, my, my, so many red herrings and false assumptions in one comment!

1). Nobody said "he's brave because he's willing to pay the price". There is only one person here who's attempting to insinuate that a price is going to be paid, and that's you.

2) there is virtually ZERO chance the Bourne movie will be impacted negatively in the tiniest way financially by Matt's comments. It would be just as logical to insinuate that his comments are likely to INCREASE box office, in that they are reminders of just what an intelligent, perceptive, loyal, caring, and all around great American he is. An American that is given a high honor by one of its greatest universities.

3). Almost nobody gets significant back end deals on movies these days, certainly not the crew and less well known actors. Matt (possibly Paul) may on this film just because he is so vital to its success.

4) There is no quandary and no controversy, as anyone who watches the video can see.

5) cowardly hiding from one's responsibilities as a citizen to engage with our nation's problems is not "more spiritual".

6) nobody is suffering, other than Trump fans who have zero sense of humor. As the crowd reaction showed (standing ovation) everybody else loved It.

Glad to sign my name,
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2016 12:13 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Politics and Film

Sorry, Paula. I did sign my name, but forgot to do it on the original post; I had to reply myself, as you can see. I see this is a passionate subject; I was willing to risk my opinion. Sorry it differs from yours. You and I agree on at least one thing certainly. We both are looking for a great success with "Jason Bourne" and absolutely wish Matt well. If you reread my post at a later time, maybe my gentle words will be less challenging.

As I've said before,I have a lot of respect for you, Paula. You're a very bright person. I hope you can forgive my forthrightness.

From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2016 01:22 am (UTC) (Link)

RE: Re: Politics and Film

Oh, yeah, I have no shortage of passion. A couple of days ago the Hubbers and I got on a bus at 5:45 am spent six hours traveling to demonstrate against the payday loan industry. So, maybe I'm still in fighting mode! Ha!

I take issue with your comments on this issue but I think you are mighty cool.

Peace and best wishes!

From: (Anonymous) Date: June 4th, 2016 11:45 pm (UTC) (Link)

You're right

You know what, the more I think about it. I say to hell with it.

Matt Damon is a human being like everyone else and he is a right to voice his opinion whether you agree with him or not. There are lot of dumb stupid people out there who take everything so seriously and can't put aside the fact that someone else has a different opinion than them.

I don't like Hilary btw, I'm actually a bernie sanders supporter. However if damon came out and said some positive things concerning Trump, it wouldn't have bothered me cos I don't really care about an actors opinion on politics. I care to watch them in movies and support them if I'm a fan of the actor. It's not like Damon is shoving his opinion down everyone's throats and pointing a gun towards someone's head. Respect his opinion and move on. That's why we live in a democracy.

For the idiot people out there who are upset about Damon's comments and say they won't see the movie. Well fine, you're obscure and no one cares about you anyway. It's their loss.

Look at the scandal johhny depp finds himself in now. Matt for as long as I can remember in his long successful brilliant hollywood career has never had any scandal of any sort and its extremely hard to do that nowadays. Credit to him and his humbleness. He's one of the few true hollywood american leading men big star that is left and we should celebrate that.

mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: June 5th, 2016 03:07 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: You're right

Hi Jonathan,

Some people are always upset about something Matt says, so this isn't new. There were some comments taken controversially (which they were not) before The Martian came out and there were concerns it would affect the box office, and they didn't. Just another cycle of Matt in the news.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2016 01:29 am (UTC) (Link)

Cutest thing eva

Remember that Pink's daughter Willow has a crush on Matt and The Martian?

Ha. What a good mom.


From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2016 01:52 am (UTC) (Link)

RE: Cutest thing eva

So precious!
Even five year old girls are crazy about him!

4mattdamon From: 4mattdamon Date: June 5th, 2016 03:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Cutest thing eva

That is too cute for Pink's daughter!
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2016 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)

MIT Commencement

I thought his speech was EXCELLENT!!! I loved all the humor he infused into it as well. It was great to see his whole family there in attendance including Mom & Dad. I always like when he references his Mom in such a dear way.

Paula, I like how you summed it up saying it radiated with "concern, intellect, humility, awareness, and personal commitment" I could not agree more.

From: (Anonymous) Date: June 6th, 2016 03:16 am (UTC) (Link)

RE: MIT Commencement

mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: June 5th, 2016 05:31 am (UTC) (Link)

Spike Guys Choice Awards

The awards are filming today in LA, but won't air until next week.

Matt and Ben (they look like wax figures):

With their awards:

The award was presented by Robert de Niro. More pics at Getty with Julia Roberts and Clint Eastwood. Ben is looking very waxy.

Edited at 2016-06-05 05:36 am (UTC)
From: iri_na_00 Date: June 5th, 2016 06:28 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Spike Guys Choice Awards

Many more photos are here
He is so beautiful in a black suit.Much better than the in the grey. I wonder why he without Lucy?

and here

Edited at 2016-06-05 06:31 am (UTC)
mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: June 5th, 2016 08:50 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Spike Guys Choice Awards

Because it's an awards show that demeans and trivializes women? There was no reason for her to go.

Edited at 2016-06-05 09:59 am (UTC)
4mattdamon From: 4mattdamon Date: June 5th, 2016 08:44 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Spike Guys Choice Awards

I think Ben looks waxy cause we aren't used to seeing him without his beard a lot.
He doesn't look as waxy in the Zimbio pics. There are a few from their backside and you can see how short Matt is in comparison to Ben.

Edited at 2016-06-05 08:45 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2016 12:41 pm (UTC) (Link)

RE: Re: Spike Guys Choice Awards

He's not short, he's just "fun size" haha!

4mattdamon From: 4mattdamon Date: June 7th, 2016 03:09 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Re: Spike Guys Choice Awards

HAHAHAHA, that's a funny one! He's in real life probably 5'9.
I'm 5'10 3/4 and he's at least a full inch shorter than me. His eyeline is not the same as mine even though they claim he's 5'10 online.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2016 01:04 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Spike Guys Choice Awards

Ben looks waxy because ha has a LOT of botox in his face, Felicity.
mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: June 5th, 2016 02:09 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Spike Guys Choice Awards

I know.

People on the speech and backstage:

Edited at 2016-06-05 02:11 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2016 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Spike Guys Choice Awards

There were some rumors on the set of Suicide Squad that Ben's face was swollen by the botox, and that some of his scenes were filmed from his back. I don't know if this is true.
But he definitely looks different.

From: iri_na_00 Date: June 5th, 2016 07:00 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Spike Guys Choice Awards

What was told by Matt and Ben. In more detail.
From: (Anonymous) Date: June 5th, 2016 08:31 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Spike Guys Choice Awards

Thanks, iri na 00, I really enjoyed this article. Seems like Julia was the real star of the show; it's only what she deserves! Oh, yeah, I enjoyed Matt and Ben's comments as well.

mattdamoncolumn From: mattdamoncolumn Date: June 6th, 2016 06:21 am (UTC) (Link)

PSA about Yulin

This is great news - Matt has recorded a PSA about the annual Yulin Dog Meat Festival. It will air later this month:

nationearthofficial Had the great pleasure of directing #mattdamon yesterday for an upcoming PSA on the horrific Yulin Dog Meat Festival happening in just over 2 weeks. I have to say, this is one of the nicest, warmest major Hollywood movie stars I've ever had the opportunity to work with (and I directed over 100 on @unityfilm). What a kind soul! He may not look it in this particular freeze frame, but that's only because he just witnessed some horrible footage of the atrocities committed against dogs and cats throughout Asia. This PSA drops later this month.
33 comments or Leave a comment