PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Hello, Morehouse! (Applause.) Thank you, everybody. Please be seated.
AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you!
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I love you back. (Laughter.) That is why I am here.
I have to say that it is one of the great honors of my life to be able to address this gathering here today. I want to thank Dr. Wilson for his outstanding leadership, and the Board of Trustees. We have Congressman Cedric Richmond and Sanford Bishop — both proud alumni of this school, as well as Congressman Hank Johnson. And one of my dear friends and a great inspiration to us all — the great John Lewis is here. (Applause.) We have your outstanding Mayor, Mr. Kasim Reed, in the house. (Applause.)
To all the members of the Morehouse family. And most of all, congratulations to this distinguished group of Morehouse Men — the Class of 2013. (Applause.)
I have to say that it’s a little hard to follow — not Dr. Wilson, but a skinny guy with a funny name. (Laughter.) Betsegaw Tadele — he’s going to be doing something.
I also have to say that you all are going to get wet. (Laughter.) And I’d be out there with you if I could. (Laughter.) But Secret Service gets nervous. (Laughter.) So I’m going to have to stay here, dry. (Laughter.) But know that I’m there with you in spirit. (Laughter.)
Some of you are graduating summa cum laude. (Applause.) Some of you are graduating magna cum laude. (Applause.) I know some of you are just graduating, “thank you, Lordy.” (Laughter and applause.) That’s appropriate because it’s a Sunday. (Laughter.)
I see some moms and grandmas here, aunts, in their Sunday best — although they are upset about their hair getting messed up. (Laughter.) Michelle would not be sitting in the rain. (Laughter.) She has taught me about hair. (Laughter.)
I want to congratulate all of you — the parents, the grandparents, the brothers and sisters, the family and friends who supported these young men in so many ways. This is your day, as well. Just think about it — your sons, your brothers, your nephews — they spent the last four years far from home and close to Spelman, and yet they are still here today. (Applause.) So you’ve done something right. Graduates, give a big round of applause to your family for everything that they’ve done for you. (Applause.)
I know that some of you had to wait in long lines to get into today’s ceremony. And I would apologize, but it did not have anything to do with security. Those graduates just wanted you to know what it’s like to register for classes here. (Laughter and applause.) And this time of year brings a different kind of stress — every senior stopping by Gloster Hall over the past week making sure your name was actually on the list of students who met all the graduation requirements. (Applause.) If it wasn’t on the list, you had to figure out why. Was it that library book you lent to that trifling roommate who didn’t return it? (Laughter.) Was it Dr. Johnson’s policy class? (Applause.) Did you get enough Crown Forum credits? (Applause.)
On that last point, I’m going to exercise my power as President to declare this speech sufficient Crown Forum credits for any otherwise eligible student to graduate. That is my graduation gift to you. (Applause.) You have a special dispensation. Continue reading