Katie Holmes Delivers a Beautiful, Personal Commencement Speech in Her Hometown

Katie Holmes is originally from Toledo, Ohio. This past weekend, Katie went back home to deliver a commencement speech to the graduates of the University of Toledo—and Katie channeled some sweet and surprisingly personal advice to the teens about to embark on their own adventures.

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Katie Holmes is originally from the Toledo, Ohio area, and one of the things I adore about her as an actress is that she brings that normal, girl next door vibe to her performances. This past weekend, Katie went back home to deliver a commencement speech to the graduates of the University of Toledo—and Katie channeled some sweet and surprisingly personal advice to the teens about to embark on their own adventures.

The Toledo Blade had some excerpts from Katie's speech: She spoke a bit about growing up in Ohio (including being coached middle school basketball by her dad), making it as an actress at an early age, and her advice on what the students should do with their big life dreams.

She spoke lovingly about her parents being supportive of her dreams, specifically when she became discouraged as a young actress. "My mom saw the look on my face, which was pretty deflated, and she ushered me out of there...Kate, don’t worry. You have nothing to be ashamed about," she said. "You are you and you are who you are and you are from where you’re from. Go in, have fun, and be yourself. The next audition I had, I nailed."

In turn, she said she wanted to be that resource for others. "If you’re waiting for a sign, this is it. I’m going to be that basketball coach and that producer and that big brother to you all and tell you that you are the person who is going to go out there and make things happen. That’s a terrifying and amazing responsibility but you deserve joy. Not in 10 years, but now."

"Do the best you can with what you have to work with, because you all have a lot to work with—more than you may know," she said. She added, potentially alluding to her own wild, precious life: "You’ve all been through a lot, you’ve had your own wild and precious lives, and may have been kicked around a little and learned how tough life can be." 

It also looks like Katie took a picture while she was onstage, which I love, saying it was a "true honor" to deliver the speech:

Katie apparently made a whole trip of it, visiting the Toledo Museum of Art:

And even learning the art of glass-blowing while she was there:

This looks like such a nice blast from the past for the actress. She also received an honorary degree of humane letters during the ceremony, so it must have meant a lot to her too.

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Katherine J. Igoe
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Katherine’s a contributing syndications editor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle. In her role, she writes stories that are syndicated by MSN and other outlets. She’s been a full-time freelancer for over a decade and has had roles with Cosmopolitan (where she covered lifestyle, culture, and fashion SEO content) and Bustle (where she was their movies and culture writer). She has bylines in New York TimesParentsInStyle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Her work has also been syndicated by ELLEHarper’s BazaarSeventeenGood Housekeeping, and Women’s Health, among others. In addition to her stories reaching millions of readers, content she's written and edited has qualified for a Bell Ringer Award and received a Communicator Award. 

Katherine has a BA in English and art history from the University of Notre Dame and an MA in art business from the Sotheby's Institute of Art (with a focus on marketing/communications). She covers a wide breadth of topics: she's written about how to find the very best petite jeanshow sustainable travel has found its footing on Instagram, and what it's like to be a professional advice-giver in the modern world. Her personal essays have run the gamut from learning to dress as a queer woman to navigating food allergies as a mom. She also has deep knowledge of SEO/EATT, affiliate revenue, commerce, and social media; she regularly edits the work of other writers. She speaks at writing-related events and podcasts about freelancing and journalism, mentors students and other new writers, and consults on coursework. Currently, Katherine lives in Boston with her husband and two kids, and you can follow her on Instagram. If you're wondering about her last name, it’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.