Knox College’s 2013 graduates spent their final moments on campus with laughs and encouragement from a popular actor and comedian.
Commencement speaker Ed Helms is known for his roles as Dr. Stuart Price in The Hangover films and as Andy Bernard from NBC’s The Office.
He told graduating students that the feeling of fear they might have is something they should embrace.
“Don’t be afraid of fear because it sharpens you, it challenges you, and makes you stronger,” said Helms. “When you run away from fear, you also run away from the opportunity to be your best possible self.”
Helms told the graduates of his own struggles with fear when he first moved to New York City. His first job in NYC was as an assistant film editor. Helms said he decided to use it as a money maker and opportunity to learn editing skills. He said after having that job for a while he felt like something was missing, and he realized he wanted to pursue comedy as he originally intended to.
Helms closed his speech by encouraging the graduates to believe in themselves.
“Trust your instincts, trust your passions, trust your empathy, trust your love,” said Helms. “And trust that even fear itself will want to stop, drop, and roll when confronted with the unstoppable passion and power of a Knox Prairie Fire.”
After the ceremony, Helms signed autographs and had his photo taken with graduates and members of the crowd.
Knox College has developed a reputation for bringing in well-known commencement speakers. President Barack Obama was the speaker in 2005 when he was a US Senator from Illinois.
Other well-known speakers include former President Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, and comedian Stephen Colbert.