President Obama Gives Commencement Speech at All-Women's Barnard College; Urges Graduates to Persevere
President Obama delivers the commencement address May 14, 2012, to graduates at all-female Barnard College on the campus of Columbia University in New York. Barnard was the first college in New York City where women could receive the same liberal arts education available to men. (Associated Press)
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The president served as the commencement speaker at Barnard College, a private's women's college in New York City, located just across the street from Columbia University where he graduated in 1983, the first year women were admitted. Looking to reinvigorate the youth movement that propelled his surge in 2008, Monday's appearance at Barnard, where his half-sister Maya Soetoro-Ng attended, was Mr. Obama's fourth trip to a college or high school in the last two weeks.
Even though he graduated nearly 30 years ago, he said his class was facing the same sense of uncertainty in the future of the class of 2012.
In a message that seemed to serve the dual purpose of encouraging the graduates to pursue their dreams, as well as support his candidacy, Mr. Obama had a simple solution for those who focus on "creeping cynicism" about the nation's political system and its economic future: "Don't believe it."
"As tough as things have been, I'm convinced that you are tougher," he said. "I've seen your passion and I've seen your service. I've seen you engage and turn out in record numbers."
"I am convinced your generation possesses that will, and I believe that the women of this generation -- all of you -- will lead the way," he told the audience. "Make this century when women shape not only their own destiny, but the destiny of the nation and the destiny of this world."
Mr. Obama shared the stage with Evan Wolfson, an attorney and gay activist who founded the group Freedom to Marry. Mr. Wolfson received an award for his lifetime of work on behalf of gay rights before the president spoke.
Even before the speech, Mr. Obama's first commencement address of the year, Mitt Romney's campaign was attempting to undercut the president's message with a dose of reality about the bleak economic outlook the class of 2012 faces, as well of the mountain of debt Mr. Obama has left for future generations.
Source: Washington Times | Susan Crabtree
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