Only days after President Obama’s visit to Atlanta to address an area pre-school in Decatur where he sent a strong message about the importance of early childhood education, it’s been announced that the president will return to Atlanta. This time as the commencement speaker for Morehouse College on May 19.
An unnamed White House official shared that Morehouse was selected because it “is among the best and brightest institutions of higher education in the country.” Although Morehouse president, Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, insists that he didn’t lobby for the president to speak at commencement, his former position as executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, a presidential appointment, had to go a long way too.
In an Atlanta Journal-Constitution story about President Obama’s impending visit, Wilson reportedly stated, ‘The president’s life story trumpets an ethic that we try to instill in all Morehouse men, namely excellence without apology or compromise.” Wilson also shared that it was fitting that President Obama would speak in the 50th anniversary year of Morehouse alum Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and the 100th anniversary of the official adoption of the Morehouse College name, which was changed from Atlanta Baptist College in 1913.
Morehouse will mark President Obama’s second HBCU commencement address. The first was Hampton University in 2010. First lady Michelle Obama gave the commencement address at Spelman in 2011. –ronda racha penrice