When Peter Hollens graduated from the UO back in 2006, he could have never imagined that he’d be on the Commencement stage— especially as the graduation speaker! Peter co-founded the male a capella group On the Rocks in 1999 and went on to perform on NBC’s The Sing Off in 2010, has become a YouTube phenom and recently signed with Sony Masterworks.

At commencement, Peter spoke about being bullied as he was growing up and how finding his love—both in a capella and in life (he married his college sweetheart who was one of the founders of UO’s female a capella group Divisi) changed and enriched his life.

Peter built his commencement speech around his belief that “the best way to achieve success in any profession is to help build up every aspect and individual involved in that profession.” He went on to say “I believe that in most cases, nurturing a collaborative environment will create more opportunities for us all.“ According to one proud parent watching Peter’s speech, “he knocked it out of the park.” Check it out on the UO Channel to see for yourself (his speech starts at 44:44).