I recently came across a transcript of J. K. Rowling's Harvard 2008 commencement address (via blog hopping from an old IMSA friend). In it, she stresses the benefits of failure and imagination. Written (and delivered too, I imagine) with the utmost eloquence, Rowling skillfully conveys her points with clarity and a dash of humor. I highly recommend everyone to read this inspiring speech.
It's interesting to compare Rowling's address to Maya Angelou's at Cornell (you'll have to scroll halfway through the video). Both Rowling and Angelou relied on life experiences to convey lessons and visions of a better life for all people. However, while Rowling presented a very forward-thinking lesson about utilizing creativity and sympathy, Dr. Angelou's speech seemed more reflective with a civil rights flavor to it. Personally, I found Rowling's address more resonant with my own ideals. It is representative, in some ways, of the generation gap between the two.