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Monday, May 10, 2010

President Obama Speaks At Hampton University Commencement

Talks Jobs. History. And The Real HU.

The Obama administration has speaking engagments at several Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) this commencement season.

Mrs. Obama spoke Saturday at the University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff. Other administration speaking engagements include Secretary Robert Gates, Department of Defense/Morehouse College; Secretary Arne Duncan, Department of Education/Xavier University; Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA/Huston-Tillotson University; Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the president/Morgan State University; Melody Barnes, director, White House Domestic Policy Council,/Virginia Union University; Ambassador Susan Rice, United Nations/Spellman College; John Wilson, executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Wilberforce University, Wiley College and Harris-Stowe State University.

An excerpt from President Obama's speech this past weekend on the campus of Hampton University follows.
"And meanwhile, you’re coming of age in a 24/7 media environment that bombards us with all kinds of content and exposes us to all kinds of arguments, some of which don’t always rank that high on the truth meter. And with iPods and iPads; and Xboxes and PlayStations -- none of which I know how to work --  information becomes a distraction, a diversion, a form of entertainment, rather than a tool of empowerment, rather than the means of emancipation. So all of this is not only putting pressure on you; it’s putting new pressure on our country and on our democracy.
Class of 2010, this is a period of breathtaking change, like few others in our history. We can’t stop these changes, but we can channel them, we can shape them, we can adapt to them. And education is what can allow us to do so. It can fortify you, as it did earlier generations, to meet the tests of your own time.
And first and foremost, your education can fortify you against the uncertainties of a 21st century economy. In the 19th century, folks could get by with a few basic skills, whether they learned them in a school like Hampton, or picked them up along the way. As long as you were willing to work, for much of the 20th century, a high school diploma was a ticket into a solid middle class life. That is no longer the case.
Jobs today often require at least a bachelor’s degree, and that degree is even more important in tough times like these. In fact, the unemployment rate for folks who’ve never gone to college is over twice as high as for folks with a college degree or more."
Watch the video below for more.

POLL:  Which commencement address did you enjoy more?  The President's or The First Lady's? [Leave your remarks in the comment section below].

Virginia State University  At The White House
More Video: Mrs. Obama Speaks At University of Arkansas

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