Michelle to California Grads: We Need You

First lady exhorts public service as 12K attend speech to 500 grads
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2009 10:34 AM CDT

(Newser) – While her husband’s commencement speeches were plagued by controversy, Michelle Obama received adoration from graduates at the University of California, Merced, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. During a 29-minute address on a 100-degree day, the first lady encouraged graduates to pursue public service careers. “We are going to need all of you,” she said. “Make your legacy a lasting one.”

“Dream big,” Obama told the 500 graduates of UC Merced, where half the students, like Obama herself, is the first of their family to attend college. “You inspired me,” she said, explaining why she chose the 4-year-old school. “This is going to give me material to paint forever,” said one artist. “There's never been anything bigger than this in Merced. Ever!”