Sunday, May 16, 2010
First Lady Is "A Woman of Her Word!"
The 2010 graduates of GW University met the challenge set forth by First Lady Michelle Obama to become more involved in their communities, through volunteerism.
"Now, I’m here today for a reason -- and not just because it’s a quick commute", joked the First Lady.
"I am here because, as you’ve seen, eight months ago, I used you all in great ways. I issued a challenge to the students, faculty, staff, and trustees of GW. I promised you that if you performed 100,000 hours of service to the greater Washington community this school year, that I’d come and speak at your commencement.
Well, I am a woman of my word!"
The students, faculty, staff, and trustees of GW showed such leadership in their community service actions, they totaled 3,300 hours in just the first day.
"But I will say that if I had known that you’d complete more than 3,300 hours on the first day of the challenge I'd probably have picked a higher number!"
The students held food drives, helped clean up parks, made care packages U.S. troops, and wrote postcards to military families. The students also helped dig out neighborhoods after the 2010 snow blizzard.
It was the vision of the First Lady to make service a daily part of their lives, and outlined the challenge on Sept. 11, the first National Day of Service and Remembrance.
In keeping with that theme Mrs. Obama admonished the graduating class to continue their good works. Using the Haitian proverb that says, "Little by little, the bird builds its nest", Mrs. Obama encouraged the class to keep doing what they're doing.
"Keep going. Keep giving. Keep engaging. I’m asking you to take what you’ve learned here and embrace the full responsibilities that a degree from an institution like GW gives you."
In appreciation for the First Lady gracing the students with her presence, GW President Steven Knapp presented Mrs. Obama with an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree. Also honored were Dave Brubeck, legendary pianist and composer, who received a Doctor of Music, honoris causa, and A. James Clark, construction entrepreneur, who received a Doctor of Engineering, honoris causa.
Mrs. Obama recently spoke at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff.
Video: Full Commencement Ceremony
Follow GW's Volunteer Challenge
GW Student Falls From Window