Archive for May 8th, 2016

08
May
16

Happy Mother’s Day From President Obama!

08
May
16

The President’s Howard Address

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PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Thank you! Hello, Howard! (Applause.) H-U!

AUDIENCE: You know!

OBAMA: H-U!

AUDIENCE: You know!

OBAMA: (Laughter.) Thank you so much, everybody. Please, please, have a seat. Oh, I feel important now. Got a degree from Howard. Cicely Tyson said something nice about me. (Laughter.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I love you, President!

OBAMA: I love you back.

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To President Frederick, the Board of Trustees, faculty and staff, fellow recipients of honorary degrees, thank you for the honor of spending this day with you. And congratulations to the Class of 2016! (Applause.) Four years ago, back when you were just freshmen, I understand many of you came by my house the night I was reelected. (Laughter.) So I decided to return the favor and come by yours.

To the parents, the grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, all the family and friends who stood by this class, cheered them on, helped them get here today — this is your day, as well. Let’s give them a big round of applause, as well. (Applause.)

I’m not trying to stir up any rivalries here; I just want to see who’s in the house. We got Quad? (Applause.) Annex. (Applause.) Drew. Carver. Slow. Towers. And Meridian. (Applause.) Rest in peace, Meridian. (Laughter.) Rest in peace.

I know you’re all excited today. You might be a little tired, as well. Some of you were up all night making sure your credits were in order. (Laughter.) Some of you stayed up too late, ended up at HoChi at 2:00 a.m. (Laughter.) Got some mambo sauce on your fingers. (Laughter.)

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(President Obama dances as he arrives alongside Howard University President Wayne Frederick (right) and Vernon Jordan)

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But you got here. And you’ve all worked hard to reach this day. You’ve shuttled between challenging classes and Greek life. You’ve led clubs, played an instrument or a sport. You volunteered, you interned. You held down one, two, maybe three jobs. You’ve made lifelong friends and discovered exactly what you’re made of. The “Howard Hustle” has strengthened your sense of purpose and ambition.

Which means you’re part of a long line of Howard graduates. Some are on this stage today. Some are in the audience. That spirit of achievement and special responsibility has defined this campus ever since the Freedman’s Bureau established Howard just four years after the Emancipation Proclamation; just two years after the Civil War came to an end. They created this university with a vision — a vision of uplift; a vision for an America where our fates would be determined not by our race, gender, religion or creed, but where we would be free — in every sense — to pursue our individual and collective dreams.

It is that spirit that’s made Howard a centerpiece of African-American intellectual life and a central part of our larger American story. This institution has been the home of many firsts: The first black Nobel Peace Prize winner. The first black Supreme Court justice. But its mission has been to ensure those firsts were not the last. Countless scholars, professionals, artists, and leaders from every field received their training here. The generations of men and women who walked through this yard helped reform our government, cure disease, grow a black middle class, advance civil rights, shape our culture. The seeds of change — for all Americans — were sown here. And that’s what I want to talk about today.

As I was preparing these remarks, I realized that when I was first elected President, most of you — the Class of 2016 — were just starting high school. Today, you’re graduating college. I used to joke about being old. Now I realize I’m old. (Laughter.) It’s not a joke anymore. (Laughter.)

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Continue reading ‘The President’s Howard Address’

08
May
16

Chat Away

08
May
16

Early Bird Chat

President Obama with Cicely Tyson at Howard University yesterday (Photo by Pete Souza)




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