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Indiana University student inspires with commencement speech

College Grad With Stutter Gives Inspiring Commencement Speech

When Indiana University graduate Parker Mantell gave his commencement speech, he told his fellow students he was sure he wasn't the best person to be giving the speech.

"As a person who stutters, I can be no more certain that, in this room and in
this hall, are thousands of people who are far more talented at public speaking than I am."

On May 10th, Mantell graduated with a degree in political science and a minor in public management.

Speaking in front of 17,000 people, Mantell gave an address a writer for The Daily Caller called "inspiring."

Business Insider summarized some of Mantell's speech, in which he pushed his fellow students to strive for greatness.

"Doubt, as has been observed, kills more dreams than failure ever will," Mantell said, before citing Beethoven's deafness, Ray Charles' blindness and Albert Einstein's dyslexia as great examples of disabilities conquered.

Mantell called into "Fox & Friends" Tuesday morning and said he's received encouraging letters from people, including parents of children with disabilities.

"Their children were in tears because they for that time didn't doubt themselves. They dared themselves."

After his graduation ceremony, Mantell spoke with NBC about his speech, which he hopes inspired his fellow students.

"It is my greatest hope that I have done so in the days following my speech. Ultimately, however, none of this is about me or what I have done--it's about people becoming what I know they can be."

We think he's on the right track. Mantell hopes to pursue a career in public service.

Join the discussion

1000|Char. 1000  Char.
evolsted May 21 2014 at 7:05 AM

The responders to this article have shown more love, thoughtfulness and pure understanding than any article I have read in months. Usually it is all criticism; however, this time I feel they got the message. We all have short comings, and are handicapped in some manner. It is appropriate to be recognized.

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4 replies
frjimomi May 21 2014 at 4:55 AM

Powerful, insightful, inspiring, brilliant. This is a man who has plunged into the depth of his own self in the greatest humility. In recognizing and going beyond his own disability, he has made us reflect profoundly on the gifts we must use to make ourselves and this world all that can be in the best of ways. We all have handcaps, but he shows us what we must grow beyond and without paralyzing fear and contribute to a desperate world the hope of our dreams. His sense of responsibility to and for others is nothing less than spectacular. I congratulate those whop recognized this extraordinary human being and asked him to speak.

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1 reply
shadobe.noyb frjimomi May 21 2014 at 12:52 PM

Hey bud I sympathize for you....but attitude is everything, and perspective...not to make light
of your cranial fluid accumulation, but there are brilliant, wonderful, kind, caring, helpful
human beings, many whom I know personally, have been afflicted with trauma, or disease,
body/nerve/muscle deterioration pathologies-while their minds remain acutely sharp,
and some will succumb to the disease or trauma far too soon to leave this world, while so many
evil and corrupt people walk this earth seemingly unscathed. So disabilities are a reality,
as is attitude...I heard a couple quotes when I was young to help me maintain an optimistic personal
outlook when I think Im due a pity party for some reason.... "One does not have to look far to find someone else with significantly more or worse problems" " I once complained I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet." Or perhaps visit a Burn and Trauma unit, and ask who among them would trade shoes with you today.

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jdjackson1991 May 21 2014 at 8:43 AM

What the left wing media leaves out is the reason he was selected is because he was an outspoken conservative and would challenge his communist professors. He won most of his debates and became popular from it. As a result, he was given this opportunity.

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14 replies
Truwriter May 21 2014 at 8:04 AM

That is inspiring and gives me hope that this young man's generation may not follow his parent's generation into being and doing nothing. Not just this country, but the world needs people who will embark of personal journies that can drag the rest along with them, to a better time and a better quality of living. We live in an era where the dominant generation (Xers I guess) aspire to do nothing and wait like little baby birds to be fed, clothed and taken care of for life (by someone else's work). In a nation where over half are now living off the work and income of everyone else, we need young people who will take life in hand and go be something. Get out of this young man's way.

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3 replies
caminante4 May 21 2014 at 11:47 AM

Universities pay a lot of money to listen to "so called celebrities" repeat over and over again the same platitudes, basically to say nothing interesting or useful in commencement speeches. Here you have a speech that was free of charge that inspired most of Mantell's classmates. It's time to learn the lesson and save money. Let students give commencement speeches and forget "so called celebrities."

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cla.connie May 21 2014 at 8:31 AM

What a terrific young man. He is on his way in this world to an exciting life and hope a very full one.

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2 replies
candomk cla.connie May 21 2014 at 10:29 AM

Just the type of young man who would be a great addition to our broken political system. I have said for years and especially in the last 4 years. We need to take our founders fathers example. they would SERVE their country for two terms only and then return to their farms, law and Drs practices & trades.
They SERVED their country and did not remain term after term becoming Career Politicians whose only concern today seems to be getting reelected term after term and seeing how much they can grab on the way through with little or no regard whatsoever for what is best for the American people.

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7 replies
scottee cla.connie May 21 2014 at 11:51 AM

maybe not because of who we keep electing in Washington.

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JOYCE May 21 2014 at 8:04 AM

Why do we constantly have to have someone "read" the article to us.....when we can read it ourselves!!! I do NOT want to hear screechy young reporters first thing in the morning.

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4 replies
trippedsoul17 May 21 2014 at 8:33 AM

Why the sk*nk to say what dude said in his speech? Just show the freaking speech and not what some woman says the dude said... Kind of loses ALL power behind the story when the story is just some random person talking about the speech. Another lame, disappointing article because someone wants to become famous reporting on what OTHERS already did.

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5 replies
BOB May 21 2014 at 7:19 AM

Eloquent speakers are just that , a speaker . History has taught us that a good speaker can move a crowd emotionally and do stupid things . Hitler was a powerful speaker and you see what came of that . I watched my step father talk to my mother and later she found out about his cheating habits . I am not one to care about what someone says , I care about what they do . What I see is another future politician that will be full of hot air and fall into the abyss of corruption as other leaders in this country have done . "Actions speak louder than words " ... There is a reason that quote should be remembered more today in the " ME" generation .

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9 replies
motoco62 May 21 2014 at 2:36 PM

It's too bad they did not have someone like this young man give the commencement address in Topeka, Kansas instead of Michelle Obama. All she talked about was race equality and having the freedom to love anyone you wish. How sick is that for a commencement address?

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1 reply
billtreemn motoco62 May 21 2014 at 7:46 PM

So you disagree with that? Your the sick one. Obviously it is hard for you to love.

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1 reply
lindamc billtreemn May 21 2014 at 9:08 PM

It's hard for her not to 'love' everyone since she is provided multi-million $ vacations at the taxpayers expense. Her talk about "race equality and having the freedom to love anyone you wish" is a total crock. She just says what is 'politically correct'.

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