Watch CBS News

Oprah Tells USC Grads To Go Out And Be The Truth In The World

LOS ANGELES (CBS News) -- Oprah Winfrey delivered a commencement speech Friday at the University of Southern California's (USC) Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism where she encouraged graduates to take everything they learned to go out and be the truth in the world.

"You are in a position to keep all those who now disparage real news, you are going to be the ones who keep those people in check. Why? Because you can push back and you can answer false narratives with real information. You can set the record straight," Winfrey said. "You also have the ability and power to give voice who desperately now need to tell their stories and have their stories told."

She encouraged graduates to use what they learned to challenge the left, right and center.

"When you see something, say something. And you say it with the facts and the reporting to back it up," she said. "You make the choice everyday to exemplify honest because the truth exonerates and it convicts, it disinfects and it galvanizes. The truth has always been, and will always be, our shield against corruption, greed and despair -- the truth is our saving grace."

Winfrey also shared stories about her mentor, the late Maya Angelou, when she opened the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa back in 2007.

"'The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy that's going to be my greatest legacy.' I remember she was standing at the counter making biscuits and she turned, put the dough down and said, 'You have no idea what your legacy will be,'" Winfrey said imitating Angelou. "'You have no idea your legacy will be every life you touch.'"

She admitted that the graduates can't cure all the problems in the world but to "pick a problem, pick something about it because to somebody whose hurting something is everything."

Winfrey also joked her last "big speech" drew national attention and rumors that she was considering running in the 2020 presidential election.

"I hesitate to say this because the rumors from my last big speech have finally died down… here it is: Vote! Vote! Pay attention to what the people who claim to represent you are doing and saying in your name and on your behalf. They represent you and if their policies are at odds with your core beliefs than you have a responsibility to send them packing."

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.