Robert Redford Encourages Grads — and Graduating Grandson — With the Words, 'You're Stepping Into a World That's Pretty Rough'

Pam WrightLife

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Robert Redford addressed the graduating class of Maine's Colby College, which included his grandson, reminding the graduates that the world is "grim."

Thankfully, those words were not the only bits of wisdom shared by Robert Redford on Sunday in Waterford, Maine.

He also encouraged the graduates to be fearless in a world of challenges and to become collaborators with others and the environment to overcome life’s daunting difficulties.

Robert Redford received an honorary fine arts degree from the school before offering his moving commencement speech to an audience of thousands, including nearly the 500 graduates, his grandson among those graduating, according to the Morning Sentinel.

“You’re stepping into a world that’s, well, pretty rough. It’s pretty chaotic, pretty divisive,” Robert Redford said. “You’ve got climate change, you’ve got debt, you’ve got wars, you’ve got political paralysis. It’s kind of a grim story. But the story, I think, can be retold, and I really believe that you’re the ones to do it.”

Robert Redford left the graduates with much to ponder, including inspirational words to live by.

“Don’t be afraid to take a risk, don’t be afraid of failure, be bold,” he said, adding that what the world needs is “collaboration and connection,” not only between people but also between people and the environment.

Robert Redford, whose speech can be found on the college’s website, is the founder of the Sundance Film Festival.

The acclaimed actor is best known for roles in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Quiz Show, All the President’s Men and The Way We Were. He received an Oscar for his directorial debut of Ordinary People, and another for lifetime achievement.

Pam Wright