President Barack Hussein Obama was the keynote speaker at Morehouse College’s 129th commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 19 in Atlanta. The graduates, faculty, family and friends were all excited to share in such a momentous event. Although the weather was unforgiving, the rainfall was not going to stop the Morehouse graduates from listening intently to the president, who was honored “to be able to address this gathering here today.” He recognized Dr. Wilson for his leadership, Congressmen Cedric Richmond and Sanford Bishop (both alumni), Congressman Hank Johnson, Congressman John Lewis and Mayor Kasim Reed for being there as well.
President Obama was humbled to stand on the stage giving the commencement speech as an “honorary Morehouse Man” and jokingly said, “I finally made it.”
He said that Morehouse’s mission is to “not just educate men, but to cultivate good men, strong men, upright men — that brought community leaders together.”
He quoted Dr. Benjamin Mays: “So what I ask of you today is the same thing I ask of every graduating class I address: Use that power for something larger than yourself. Live up to President Mays’ challenge. Be “sensitive to the wrongs, the sufferings, and the injustices of society.” And be “willing to accept responsibility for correcting [those] ills.”
“And moreover,” the president said, “you have to remember that whatever you’ve gone through pales in comparison to the hardships previous generations endured — and they overcame, and if they overcame them, you can overcome them too.”
President Obama’s speech marks the first time a sitting president has delivered a commencement address in Georgia since 1938 when President Theodore Roosevelt addressed the University of Georgia in Athens.