Summary of J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech

Harvard University Commencement 2008

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J.K. Rowling Harvard Commencement Speech summary
Individuals have a social responsibility to engage their imaginations to change the world.


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In 2012, J.K. Rowling, the notoriously private author of the Harry Potter series, dropped off the Forbes billionaires list as a result of her generous charitable donations. Her 2008 Harvard University commencement address gives a glimpse into the mind of this celebrated philanthropist and creator. With self-deprecating wit, Rowling shares wisdom gleaned from her personal and professional life and credits her success to a blend of failure and imagination. getAbstract believes Rowling’s eloquent, sincere speech will inspire anyone who has led an overly sheltered life to take action to improve the world.

In this summary, you will learn

  • What author J.K. Rowling learned from failure,
  • Why imagination is critical to empathy and
  • Why humans have a responsibility to tap into their imaginations to improve the world.


As Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling prepared her Harvard commencement speech, she felt a deep responsibility to deliver words of wisdom that would resonate with some of America’s most elite university graduates. So she considered the advice she wished someone had bestowed onto her as a young graduate...
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About the Speaker

Novelist and philanthropist J.K. Rowling is the author of the Harry Potter series.

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