Tim Cook Ohio State University Commencement AddressSource: Ohio State University

What you need to know

  • Tim Cook gave the Ohio State University commencement address today.
  • The speech was virtual due to social distancing requirements.
  • Cook encouraged graduates to build a better future than what they originally envisioned.

Tim Cook, Apple's Chief Executive Officer, gave the commencement address to Ohio State University today. The speech was given virtually and posted to the university's Ohio State News YouTube channel.

Cook began his speech by talking about Franklin Delano Roosevelt, T.S. Eliot, and Amelia Earhart and how they were able to achieve incredible things while living through a time when the Spanish Flu was sweeping through their countries. He then went on to talk about how graduates today, while burdened with a historical challenge, have an opportunity to make an enormous impact.

"Graduates, I am sorry that we're not celebrating together today. Your class is a special one — marked by history like few others in OSU's 150 years. And while we aren't shoulder to shoulder in the Horseshoe, filling it to the rafters, I know your parents, your loved ones, your friends and teachers, are no less overwhelmed with pride in you and in what you have achieved. It can be difficult to see the whole picture when you're still inside the frame, but I hope you wear these uncommon circumstances as a badge of honor. Those who meet times of historical challenge with their eyes and hearts open — forever restless and forever striving — are also those who leave the greatest impact on the lives of others."

Cook also took a moment to reflect on how best laid plans are often never realized. The CEO talked about how he pictured his life when he joined Apple, and how Steve Job's passing affected him.

"When I joined Apple in 1998, I couldn't believe my luck. I was going to get to spend the rest of my professional life working for Steve Jobs. But fate comes like a thief in the night. The loneliness I felt when we lost Steve was proof that there is nothing more eternal, or more powerful, than the impact we have on others."

Cook closed by saying that graduates today are faced with a situation that is not of their choice but one in which they have the power to influence. He encourages all to "build a better future than the one you thought was certain."

"Graduates, your case is new. For you, the old dogmas have never been an option. You don't have the luxury of being enthralled. You enter a world of difficulty with open eyes, tasked with writing a story that is not necessarily of your choosing but is still entirely yours. You're the pride of your parents and grandparents, of aunts, uncles and teachers, of the communities that shaped you in ways seen and unseen. You weren't promised this day. Many of you had to fight hard to earn it. Now it's yours. Think anew. Act anew. Build a better future than the one you thought was certain. And, in a fearful time, call us once again to hope. Congratulations to you all. Be great, be well. Thank you very much."

You can read the full transcript of the address on the Ohio State University website or watch the video below.