Veteran actor Robert Redford had a bracing message for graduates at a Maine college when he delivered the commencement speech on Sunday. The actor urged the youngsters to “not be afraid” to take risks as they go out into the world after studying.

As reported by the Associated Press, he told the assembled crowd at 483 Colby College: “You're stepping into a world that's, well, pretty rough. It's pretty chaotic, pretty divisive. You've got climate change, you've got debt, you've got wars, you've got political paralysis. It's kind of a grim story.”

However, he finished on a note of hopefulness, encouraging his audience to engage in “collaboration and connection” as they make their way in the world. “Don't be afraid to take a risk, don't be afraid of failure, be bold,” he said. “The story, I think, can be retold,” he added, “and I really believe that you're the ones to do it.”

Robert RedfordRobert Redford delivered a candid address to the class of 2015 at Colby College, Maine

78 year old Redford was speaking at the ceremony as his grandson was among the class of 2015 and in attendance. He also received an honorary degree in fine arts from the school, as an audience of several thousand looked on before he delivered the keynote speech.

He told the students that he still holds hopes for future generations. Speaking about politics, he said “compromise is supposed to be the definition of politics. It’s the art of compromise, but we don’t see it. Obviously something has to change, and I think you’re the ones to do it.”

Redford recalled his work on the 1976 movie All the President’s Men, the political thriller about the true story of two journalists’ attempts to uncover the truth about the Watergate scandal and which won the Oscar for Best Picture the following year, to illustrate what he believed could be achieved by the collaboration that he mentioned.

“Looking at the footage, there was a moment that stunned me,” Redford told the students. “The Watergate hearing committee was made up of people from both sides of the aisle – Republicans and Democrats – and what really stunned me was how this panel was working together to get to the truth. I thought, ‘Wow, there was a time.’ It is possible. It can be done, and I think I’m putting it in your hands.”

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See Robert Redford's address to the graduates of Colby College below