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Tim Cook tells college graduates why they could change the world

Apple CEO Tim Cook is no stranger to making grand announcements, and his commencement address at George Washington University on Sunday was no exception. Urging students to make “great progress” and take risks, Cook drew upon his own life experiences in relaying his message to the university’s latest graduates.

“There are problems that need to be solved, injustices that need to be ended, people that are still being persecuted, diseases still in need of cure. No matter what you do next, the world needs your energy, your passion, your impatience. Don’t shrink from risk,” Cook said.

“It’s no surprise that people are skeptical,” admitted Cook, discussing the cynicism that has become a hallmark of the millennial generation.

Given the almost painful frequency with which commencement speakers preach about doing the right thing and chasing dreams, Cook noted that ” … a healthy amount of skepticism is fine. Though too often … it turns to cynicism. To the idea that no matter who’s talking or what they’re saying, that their motives are questionable, their character is suspect, and if you search hard enough, you can prove that they are lying. Maybe that’s just the world we live in. But graduates, this is your world to change.”

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Despite the generally serious note of the speech, with plenty of reminders not to live life on the sidelines and to seize opportunities as they present themselves, Cook also found a way to integrate a healthy dose of humor into his address. With a dig at Android users, Cook kept things light-hearted from the start: “Before I begin today, they asked me to make a standard announcement about silencing your phones. Those of you with an iPhone, just place it in silent mode. If you don’t have an iPhone, please pass it to the center aisle,” he joked. “Apple has a world-class recycling program.”