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Friday, June 03, 2016

Commencement address by First Lady Michelle Obama

City College of New York welcomed Michelle Obama to give the 2016 commencement address.

First Lady Michelle Obama addressed City College of New York Class of 2016
First Lady Michelle Obama
First Lady Michelle Obama delivered the commencement address during the 170th Commencement Ceremony at The City College of New York on Friday, June 3, 2016, at 10:30 a.m., on the South Campus Great Lawn on the CCNY campus, in historic Harlem, where more than 3,000 students make up the Class of 2016.

In fact, Michelle Obama "zinged" Donald Trump at City College

In fact, Mrs. Obama denounced one of Trump’s signature proposals — construction of a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border — lamented “name-calling” and faulted “some folks out there” who “demonize and dehumanize entire groups of people.”

The City College of New York is the first public higher education institution in New York City and has one of the most diverse student bodies in the nation. Established as a free institution dedicated to overcoming barriers to advancement, CCNY continues its mission of access to excellence and keeping tuition affordable.

CCNY students are frequent recipients of national and international awards, including Fulbright, Goldwater, Gilman, National Science Foundation Research Fellows, Rhodes and Truman. The college also is a top producer of U.S. Fulbright Scholars among its faculty members who also are frequent recipients of other prestigious awards, including Guggenheim, National Endowment for the Humanities, NSF fellowships and grants, and national book writing awards.

CCNY is home to 10 Nobel Prize winners, at least 11 Oscar recipients, and secures nearly $60 million per year in research awards that address pressing needs and lead to improvements in people’s lives and communities around the world. Recently launched is the new CUNY School of Medicine on the City College campus. The college also opened the City College Center for Discovery and Innovation as a magnet for international researchers and learning for students, faculty, and scientists working across multiple disciplines. U.S. News, Princeton Review and Forbes all rank City College among the best colleges and universities in the United States.

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 15,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in the College of Liberal Arts and Science; Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; School of Education; Grove School of Engineering; Sophie Davis Biomedical Education/CUNY School of Medicine; and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. As the precursor to CUNY, City College is part of one of the largest public urban university systems in the country.

Mrs. Obama is a Princeton and Harvard alumna; she urged the graduates to heed “the lessons of our history” and cherish 
immigrants’ contributions to AmericaShe listed prominent Americans who were foreign-born, including Intel founder Andrew Grove, who came to America from Hungary to flee Nazi persecution. 

“Here in America, we don’t give in to our fears. We don’t build up walls to keep people out, because we know that our greatness has always depended on contributions from people who were born elsewhere but sought out this country,” Obama said.

The first lady spoke at the nearly 170-year-old school’s main campus in upper Manhattan under cloudy skies and sporadic drizzle. The Class of 2016 has 3,848 undergraduates and graduate students, and as many as half are the first to go to college in their families, according to CUNY. 

Obama criticized “some folks out there” who “view our diversity as a threat to be contained, rather than as a resource to be tapped. They tell us to be afraid of those who are different, to be suspicious of those with whom we disagree. They act as if name-calling is an acceptable substitute for thoughtful debate.”

Beyond an $8 billion wall, which Trump says Mexico will pay for, Trump wants a moratorium on Muslims coming into the nation and deportation of the estimated 11 million immigrants who are here illegally. 

Obama has delivered nearly two dozen graduation addresses during her husband Barack Obama’s two terms in office. She said she chose City College as the site of her last one because of its diverse student body and its history.

During the early 20th century, City College became known as “the poor man’s Harvard.” Ivy League schools such as Harvard, Yale and Princeton would admit only a handful of Jews and other minorities.

“City College became a haven for brilliant, motivated students of every background — a place where they didn’t have to hide their last names or their accents or put on any kind of airs, because the students at this school were selected based not on pedigree but on merit and merit alone.”

On Friday, as Obama stood on the dais to receive an honorary doctor of humane letters degree, there were cheers: “We love you, Michelle!” “Four more years!” One young woman said of the first lady: “One of us!”

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