Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - Returning once again to Missoula and the University of Montana, Golden Globe Award Winner and Oscar-nominated Native American actress Lily Gladstone spoke from the heart to the over 1,000 students in the first UM Commencement Ceremony on Saturday.

Gladstone related how so many of her fellow theater graduates immediately left for Los Angeles or New York to seek their fortunes, but she felt led to stay home and work on her craft here in Montana.

Award Winning Native American Actress Lily Gladstone Addressed UM Grads

“Really the only barometer that you're going to have that you can trust is your heart,” said Gladstone. “By staying here, I started getting lead roles in independent films when a lot of my very talented, equally talented, if not more talented friends who had moved to New York and L.A. were still struggling to find an agent. I found a Montana agent. I grew my career slowly in a place that I wanted to also build community.”

Gladstone looked back to her own commencement and urged the graduates to remember the times at the University of Montana and keep those friendships alive.

Gladstone Looked back 16 Years to her own UM Commencement

“Over the last 16 years since I was sitting where you are; writing or gathering, experience gathering life in my heart, and that's the gift this morning,” she said. “All of my words come directly from watching all of you come in, sit down, and laugh with your friends. Please stay in touch with each other. It's all precious and it goes fast.”

Gladstone, who was scheduled to fly to Paris on Sunday, offered some very personal advice, urging the graduates to live complete lives, using their hearts as well as their heads.

READ MORE: Lily Gladstone Quoted About Her Montana Origin

Her Words of Wisdom were 'Lead with your Heart, Joy, and Compassion'

“As you all take your first steps, your first little baby steps back out into the world, and as you commence on your new journey, wherever that goes, lead with your heart,” she said. “Lead with joy, lead with compassion. You may be very skilled in whatever field it is that you've just picked up. You can tuck that in your belt. But that's a supporting framework that should always prop up your kindness, and your care for the world around you.”

Nearly 2,000 UM students received diplomas on Saturday in two separate ceremonies at 9:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Click the link below to hear Gladstone's entire address to the graduates.

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Gallery Credit: Chris Wolfe