By Jueseppi B.
A Generation Uniquely Poised for Success
“It is one of the great honors of my life to be able to address this gathering here today,” President Obama told the graduates. “Your generation is uniquely poised for success unlike any generation of African Americans that came before it.”
President Obama Delivers Morehouse College Commencement Address
May 19, 2013 | 31:59 | Public Domain
President Obama speaks at the Morehouse College commencement ceremony.
President Barack Obama is reflected in a mirror as he talks with Chief of Staff Denis McDonough prior to participating in the commencement ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., May 19, 2013. A painting of the President stands in the foreground. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
Yesterdayday, President Obama delivered the commencement address to the 2013 graduates of Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA.
“It is one of the great honors of my life to be able to address this gathering here today,” President Obama told the graduates. He spoke about Morehouse’s history, and “ the unique sense of purpose that this place has always infused — the conviction that this is a training ground not only for individual success, but for leadership that can change the world.”
“Your generation is uniquely poised for success unlike any generation of African Americans that came before it,” President Obama said.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t have work — because if we’re honest with ourselves, we know that too few of our brothers have the opportunities that you’ve had here at Morehouse. In troubled neighborhoods all across this country — many of them heavily African American — too few of our citizens have role models to guide them. Communities just a couple miles from my house in Chicago, communities just a couple miles from here — they’re places where jobs are still too scarce and wages are still too low; where schools are underfunded and violence is pervasive; where too many of our men spend their youth not behind a desk in a classroom, but hanging out on the streets or brooding behind a jail cell.
My job, as President, is to advocate for policies that generate more opportunity for everybody — policies that strengthen the middle class and give more people the chance to climb their way into the middle class. Policies that create more good jobs and reduce poverty, and educate more children, and give more families the security of health care, and protect more of our children from the horrors of gun violence. That’s my job. Those are matters of public policy, and it is important for all of us — black, white and brown — to advocate for an America where everybody has got a fair shot in life. Not just some. Not just a few.
Graduates react as President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the commencement ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga., May 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
“But along with collective responsibilities, we have individual responsibilities,” the President said. “As Morehouse Men, you now wield something even more powerful than the diploma you’re about to collect — and that’s the power of your example. So what I ask of you today is the same thing I ask of every graduating class I address: Use that power for something larger than yourself.”
So, yes, go get that law degree. But if you do, ask yourself if the only option is to defend the rich and the powerful, or if you can also find some time to defend the powerless. Sure, go get your MBA, or start that business. We need black businesses out there. But ask yourselves what broader purpose your business might serve, in putting people to work, or transforming a neighborhood. The most successful CEOs I know didn’t start out intent just on making money — rather, they had a vision of how their product or service would change things, and the money followed.
Some of you may be headed to medical school to become doctors. But make sure you heal folks in underserved communities who really need it, too. For generations, certain groups in this country — especially African Americans — have been desperate in need of access to quality, affordable health care. And as a society, we’re finally beginning to change that.
“And finally, as you do these things, do them not just for yourself, but don’t even do them just for the African American community. I want you to set your sights higher,” President Obama said. “It’s not just the African American community that needs you. The country needs you. The world needs you.”
Success may not come quickly or easily. But if you strive to do what’s right, if you work harder and dream bigger, if you set an example in your own lives and do your part to help meet the challenges of our time, then I’m confident that, together, we will continue the never-ending task of perfecting our union.
President Barack Obama delivers remarks during the commencement ceremony at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, May 19, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
First Lady Delivers Commencement Addresses at Bowie State, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School
07:30 PM EDT
On Friday, First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement address to the Bowie State University Class of 2013. Bowie State, which opened just two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed, “was founded not just to educate African Americans, but to teach them how to educate others,” the First Lady explained.
And since then, generations of students from all backgrounds have come to this school to be challenged, inspired and empowered. And they have gone on to become leaders here in Maryland and across this country, running businesses, educating young people, leading the high-tech industries that will power our economy for decades to come.
That is the story of Bowie State University, the commitment to educating our next generation and building ladders of opportunity for anyone willing to work for it. All of you are now part of that story. And with that tremendous privilege comes an important set of responsibilities — responsibilities that you inherit the moment you leave this stadium with that diploma in your hand.
On Saturday, she traveled to Nashville to speak to the graduating class of Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School. The First Lady took the opportunity to talk to the students – all of whom are going on to higher education or the military – about some of the skills they’ll need as they make their way through college and through life: resilience, grit, and the ability to pick themselves up when they fall.
And here’s the thing, graduates: These qualities are not ones that you’re born with. They’re not like the color of your eyes or your height. They’re not qualities that are beyond your control. Instead, you can dictate whether you’ll have grit. You decide how hard you’ll work. So I want you to make those choices right now, today, if you haven’t already done so. Make those choices. I want you to tell yourself that no matter what challenges you face, that you will commit yourself to achieving your goals, no matter where life takes you.
But, she said, “do not waste a minute living someone else’s dream.”
Each of us has unique gifts. But it takes a lot of work, a lot of real work to discover what brings you joy. It just doesn’t happen; it requires you spending some time. And you won’t find what you love simply by checking boxes or padding your GPA. You won’t figure it out only by listening to your guidance counselor, or your friends, or even your parents. You can only find your passion by looking inside yourself. And that’s hard work.
First Lady Michelle Obama Delivers Commencement Address at MLK, JR. Magnet High School Commencement
Published on May 18, 2013
The First Lady, Michelle Obama, delivers the commencement address to graduates of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Academic Magnet High School for Health Sciences and Engineering at Historic Pearl High in Nashville, TN on May 18 at 1:00 PM. The school serves approximately 1,200 students in grades 7 through 12 with a curriculum that emphasizes mathematics and science. Housed in the historic Pearl High School building, MLK is consistently ranked among the best public schools in the nation for its academic rigor and high graduation rate.
The First Lady Michelle LaVaughn Obama At Bowie State University Commencement.
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First Lady Delivers Commencement Addresses at Bowie State, Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School
First Lady Michelle Obama delivers the commencement addresses at Bowie State University and Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School.
Weekly Address: The President Talks About How to Build a Rising, Thriving Middle Class
President Obama talks about his belief that a rising, thriving middle class is the true engine of economic growth, and that to reignite that engine and continue to build on the progress we’ve made over the last four years, we need to invest in three areas: jobs, skills and opportunity.
Weekly Wrap Up: “What Our Families Deserve”
Here’s a quick glimpse at what happened last week on WhiteHouse.gov.
All times are Eastern Daylight Time (EDT).
10:45 AM: The President and the Vice President receive the Presidential Daily Briefing.
11:30 AM: The President meets with senior advisors.
1:30 PM: Press Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney.
2:10 PM: The President holds a bilateral meeting with His Excellency President Thein Sein.
Speeches and Remarks
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