Campus News

Watch Online: First Lady's First Commencement Speech Mentions Geoffrey Canada '74, Bowdoin

Story posted May 18, 2009

First Lady Michelle Obama made her debut as a commencement speaker Saturday, May 16, 2009, at the University of California, Merced, and did so with mention of the College and Geoffrey Canada '74.

UC Merced is California's smallest and newest public university. Obama urged the 493 members of its first full graduating class to give back to their communities, citing numerous examples of people from underprivileged backgrounds who, through education, were able to do just that.

"And then one of my heroes, Geoffrey Canada, grew up in the South Bronx," said Obama. "After graduating from Bowdoin and getting his masters at Harvard, he returned to New York City and used his education to ensure that the next generation would have a chance at the same opportunity. Geoffrey's Harlem Children's Zone is a nationally recognized program that covers 100 blocks and reaches nearly 10,000 children with a variety of social services to ensure that all kids are prepared to get a good education."

The speech was carried by CNN. Watch Obama's speech in three parts (Reference to Bowdoin and Canada in Part 2 at 6:12).

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