Matt Damon Fires Up MIT Graduates to Make a Difference in Commencement Speech

at 4:18 pm | By

“This is your life, class of 2016. This your moment. It is all down to you.”

Speaking to an assembled crowd of around 13,000 recent graduates, parents and alumni, Matt Damon gave an inspiring speech at MIT’s 2016 commencement ceremony on Friday morning.

According to, Damon slammed bankers and Donald Trump, praised people like Elizabeth Warren and urged the graduating class to take action because “there is more at stake today than in every story that has ever been told.”

Damon said about the banking institutions, “Let me say this to the bankers — specifically the ones that brought you the biggest heist in history. It was theft, and you knew it. It was fraud, and you knew it. And you know what else? We know that you knew it. I don’t know if justice is coming for you in this life or the next,” he continued. “But if it does come in this life, her name will be Elizabeth Warren.”

“Your education should never be over, even outside of your work,” Damon said, joking, “I’m told there’s even a Trump University. I have no earthly idea what they teach there.”

The Boston native also included some humor into his speech, especially how much he and pal Ben Affleck revered MIT growing up. They ended up shooting the 1997 movie Good Will Hunting on the campus, which earned Damon and Affleck a Best Original Screenplay Oscar and put their careers on the map.

Damon laughed that the movie reviewer for MIT’s newspaper did not like Good Will Hunting at that time. “In the end, the reviewer writes that the actual character development flies out the window,” Damon said, before quoting directly from the 1997 review: “‘Will and Sean talk, bond, solve each other’s problems, and then cry and hug each other. After said crying and hugging, the movie ends. Such feel-good pretentiousness is not my mug of eggnog.’”

In the end, Damon reiterated the important message of making a difference. “I hope you’ll turn toward the problem of your choosing. And I hope you’ll drop everything, and I hope you’ll solve it.”