The most important forms of appeal in Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's commencement address are ethos and pathos.
Ethos is the dominant form of appeal in the speech, as Adichie frequently talks about the graduates, people she knows, and herself in terms that suggests credibility, authority, and reliability.
For example, she borrows ethos from Hillary Clinton to encourage graduates to feel proud: “…you will also very soon be the proud alumnae of the college that produced America’s first female president! Go Hillary!” (ll. 14-17)
Adichie also builds ethos around herself, however. To show she is knowledgeable, Adichie talks about her education, her success as a writer, and her experience with gender injustices. For example, she mentions getting into medical school and then obtaining a scholarship in the US to study becoming a writer (ll. 163-180). This shows how hard she worked to get where she is now, as an acknowledged and successful writer: “I’ve been fort...