First Lady Delivers Commencement Addresses at Bowie State University (Comcast Center - College Park, MD)

Posted by Mario Bonds on May 19, 2013

News & Commentation

On Friday, our First Lady delivered stirring commencement remarks to Bowie State University’s Class of 2013.


"“This school was founded not just to educate African Americans, but to teach them how to educate others,” she told the graduating body of 600.


She went onto inspire all in attendance to get back the thirst for education that drove blacks to walk 10 miles a day, just to sit in a school house to read a book. It was the very same thirst that had blacks endure endless days of being punched and jeered at, just for walking into white schools for a chance at an education. Her speech was a call to arms as she told the graduates that they too now bore the responsibility of educating young people, whether in teaching disciplines or not.


There to witness my brother, O.C. Dupree’s walk across the stage to receive his Masters of Art & Teaching diploma, I found Michelle Obama’s remarks moving and instructive. I felt empowered and a renewed sense of my own responsibility to be the “best” I can be, and help other minorities due the same. The effect of her words made my work in motivational speaking, writing and advocacy all that more worthwhile and consequential. Words by my mentor, Preesident of University of Maryland Baltimore County, Freeman Rhabowski, made the ceremony a golden winner for me, but the words from Mrs. Obama rang loud in my heart:

“Generations of students from all backgrounds have come to this school to be challenged, inspired and empowered. And they have gone on to become leaders here in Maryland and across this country, running businesses, educating young people, leading the high-tech industries that will power our economy for decades to come. That is the story of Bowie State University, the commitment to educating our next generation and building ladders of opportunity for anyone willing to work for it. All of you are now
part of that story. And with that tremendous privilege comes an important set of responsibilities -- responsibilities that you inherit the moment you leave this stadium with that diploma in your hand.”



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