Matthew McConaughey delivers UH commencement address

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Saturday, May 16, 2015
Matthew McConaughey delivers UH commencement address
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Matthew McConaughey delivered a 2015 commencement address at the University of Houston.

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- The rain stopped just in time for the beginning of the University of Houston's graduation Friday evening, and in time to see one of Hollywood's biggest stars, Matthew McConaughey.

Not many people knew what to expect from McConaughey. Most that we talked to surely didn't expect him to speak for as long as he did. But the actor got two thumbs up from the crowd.

They greeted him with loud cheers and screams the moment he set foot on the field at TDECU Stadium. It was the moment many of the graduates and people in the crowd had been waiting for.

"Congratulations class of 2015," he began.

McConaughey is one of the hottest names in Hollywood. But Friday, he was on a different stage, dropping knowledge on the 4,300 graduates stepping out into the real world.

"Life's not fair. It never was, isn't now and won't ever be. Do not fall into the entitled trap of feeling like you're a victim. You are not," he said.

The Academy Award winner told them to define their own success and enjoy the journey.

"Personally, as an actor, I started enjoying my work and literally being more happy when I stopped trying to make the daily labor a means to a certain end," he said. "For example, I need this film to be a box office success."

The crowd got a little restless toward the end of McConaughey's speech. Our cameras even caught one graduate taking a selfie while he was talking.

"The buildup to it was like 'I guess this guy is gonna talk about what it's like to be famous. That'll help everybody getting their history degrees,'" said UH student Radu Bondar.

"I love Matthew McConaughey and he really, like, just said a lot of things that actually mattered," added Sydney Stephenson.

"I loved his passion, everything he said. I think it was very inspiring for all the graduates," Katherine Sorto said.

The controversy leading up to Friday night was well-documented. McConaughey is a University of Texas grad speaking at the University of Houston, even though his father played football for the Cougars. And the cost was also a topic of debate. The university spent more than $140,000 to get him here.

We asked Radu Bondar and Sydney Stephenson if the speech was worth it.

"Considering he donated it, of course. It's worth it," they chimed.

The university said in March that McConaughey is donating the entire $120,000 speaker fee to the Just Keep Livin' Foundation, a charity he started to help high school students lead active lives.