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Tim Cook To Duke University Graduates: 'Think Different, Be Fearless'

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Tim Cook challenged graduates to 'think different' and 'be fearless' in his commencement speech at the Duke University. The Apple CEO, who graduated from the university in 1988, addressed students at his alma mater on Sunday, May 13.  ( Justin Sullivan | Getty Images )

Apple CEO Tim Cook returned to his alma mater, Duke University, to give a commencement speech at this year's graduation ceremony.

'Think Different'

Nearly three decades after he graduated from Duke's Fuqua School of Business, Cook returned to the university's Durham, North Carolina campus to deliver a powerful and inspiring speech to the new generation.

In his speech, the Apple CEO urged them to "think different" instead of accepting the status quo, echoing the words of Apple's famous advertising campaign from the late 90s.

"Don't just accept the world you inherit. Don't just accept the status quo," he said. "No big challenge has ever been solved, and no lasting improvement has been achieved, unless people dare to try something different. Dare to think different."

'Be Fearless'

Cook also told the students to "be fearless" and gave recent examples of individuals who have been driven to confront the powerful force standing in the way of change. The 57-year-old told students to be fearless like the survivors of the Parkland school shooting and activists who spoke out against the epidemic of gun violence and rallied hundreds and thousands to join their cause after a former student killed 17 people in February. Cook told the graduating class of 2018 to be fearless like the women who came forward with allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct against high-profile men in the entertainment industry with the help of the Me Too and Time's Up movement. "Fearless like those who fight for the rights of immigrants who understand that our only hopeful future is one that embraces all who want to contribute," he added.

Cook Takes A Dig At Facebook

In his address, Cook also took a jab at Facebook's data collection scandal by saying that Apple takes a different approach when it comes to data privacy.

Facebook came under fire earlier this year after it disclosed that it had harvested personal data of up to 87 million users through a political data analytics firm called Cambridge Analytica.

"We reject the excuse that getting the most out of technology means trading away your right to privacy," Cook said. "So we choose a different path, collecting as little of your data as possible, being thoughtful and respectful when it's in our care because we know it belongs to you."

Watch Cook's full commencement speech below:

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