Dolly Was “Nervous” About Speaking to Graduates

With more than 100 million albums sold, acclaimed roles in numerous films and a multimillion-dollar business empire, Dolly Parton is one of the most fearless and bold entertainers the world has ever known.

Except for the time she had to give a commencement speech for graduates of the University of Tennessee in 2009.

"I was very nervous. I don't like to make speeches," said Dolly during an appearance on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report last night (Nov. 27). "I don't feel like I'm smart enough or educated enough in that way to talk to all those educated people."

But in true Dolly fashion, the speech was a huge success and evolved into the singer's inspirational new memoir, Dream More: Celebrate the Dreamer in You.

"It didn't hurt that I came out singing 'Rocky Top,' their theme song," she added. "It really went over well and they encouraged me to write the book.'"

Proceeds from sales of Dream More will help fund Dolly's Imagination Library, a literacy program that provides children with books and encourages reading. Since it began in 1996, the program has given nearly 40 million books to children in the U.S., Canada and the U.K.

Other highlights from Dolly's appearance with political comic Stephen Colbert included the two racing to see who could say their siblings' names the fastest (Dolly is one of 12, Stephen is one of 11), and the pair duetting on Dolly's "Love Is Like a Butterfly."

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