I mean, think about that. And graduates, every single one of you has an obligation to do the same. All those classes, convocations, Christmas concerts — ooh, and the late night conversations about some man. Got a prestigious job at a fancy law firm. Crying your eyes out together at the parting ceremony.

And I want to thank President Tatum for her leadership and for that very kind and generous introduction. And graduates, every single one of you has an obligation to do the same. They pushed you, they believed in you, and they answered calls those late nights, even when you were just calling for money. I mean, think about that. Debbie Allen, director, choreographer and author Debbie Allen continues to be one of the most respected, relevant, and versatile talents in the entertainment industry today. You have an obligation to face whatever life throws your way with confidence and with hope.

They started out in a dank church basement loaned to them by a kindly preacher named Father Quarles. They have seen every defeat as a challenge. And I can tell you from my own experience just how rewarding it can be to make this kind of work the work of your careers.

Michelle Obama Inspires Spelman College Class of | State of HBCUs

All those classes, convocations, Christmas concerts — grzduation, and the late night conversations about lbamas man. It has left you each other. In one of her novels, she wrote, simply: But still, week after week, more women showed up to enroll. And many of you will need that money to help pay off your student loans and support your families. Thank you, and God bless. And their first class had just 11 students, many of whom were former slaves.


In a time of black codes and lynching, this school was training African American women to be leaders in education, in the health professions.

I mean, make no mistake about it, Miss Packard, Miss Giles, they were ambitious for their students.

Today more than 8, Teach For America corps members are in the midst of two-year teaching commitments in 39 regions across the country, reaching overstudents.

It is your obligation to bring Spelman to those folks.

2011 Commencement Address

Tatum said “Our honorees have made a significant impact on the world just as Spelman women do. Inshe launched the Let’s Move! Often, the stove was so smoky, and the light was so poor, that students could barely see their teachers.

Thank you all so much for joining us today. Spelmzn mean, think about one of my heroines, Marian Wright Edelman, class of — applause — working as a young civil rights lawyer down in Mississippi.

My family proud — and relieved. She has been with me from the very beginning, looking after my girls, taking care of my mom. Others may be wondering what it will be like to move back home with mom and dad again.

Michelle Obama at Spelman College, : The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever : NPR

Look, ladies, you want to know what Spelman does for you? And his last words to the students were: Obama uses her platform to support military families, help working women balance career and family, encourage national service, promote the arts and arts education, and foster healthy eating and healthy living for children and families across the country.


But as you climb those career ladders, just remember to reach down and pull others up behind you. Now, that is the story of Spelman college: So much to the surprise of my family and friends, I left that secure, high-paying job and eventually became the Executive Director of a non-profit, working to help young people get involved in public service.

It was about a vision for us as a people, and as a nation, where every child can develop every last bit of their God-given potential.

michelle obamas graduation speech at spelman college

You have an obligation to face whatever life throws your way with confidence and with hope. She continued to resist unjust laws with every fiber of her being. And no matter what obstacles you encounter, no matter what hardships you endure, all of you have that for life.

michelle obamas graduation speech at spelman college

And plenty of people tried to dissuade Miss Packard and Miss Giles from founding this xt. But they were afraid that a coed school — their students would be treated as second class citizens. And let me tell you there are plenty of moms and dads here who are wondering the same thing.

That happens to everyone, including me, throughout their lives.