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Drawing from some of the most pivotal points in his life, Steve Jobs, chief executive officer and co-founder of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, urged graduates to pursue their dreams and see the opportunities in life's setbacks—including death itself—at the university's 114th Commencement on Sunday in Stanford Stadium.

Wearing jeans and sandals under his black robe, Jobs delivered a keynote address that spanned his adoption at birth to his insights into mortality after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about a year ago. In plainspoken terms, his address struck a balance between the obstacles he has encountered during his notably public life and the lessons he has gleaned—for example, from his high-profile ousting in 1985 from the computer company he helped start.

Stanford University President Hennessy said Jobs embodied the university's spirit, its "willingness to be bold and strike out in new directions." Hennessy also touched on Jobs' reputation as an innovator, a visionary and an advocate for education who developed partnerships during Apple's earliest days to get computers into schools and communities.