The Richmond Register

Education

May 12, 2013

First Lady urges graduates to live by their values

2,407 students graduate from Eastern Kentucky University

RICHMOND — Touching on her own college experiences, First Lady Michelle Obama urged Eastern Kentucky University graduates to live a life of service while building on valuable character traits that will benefit the entire nation.

Obama visited Richmond as the featured speaker for EKU’s evening commencement. She chose to speak at the ceremony because of the university’s recognized commitment to serving student military veterans.

Eastern graduated 2,407 students Saturday in three ceremonies throughout the day. The evening ceremony was President Doug Whitlock’s last commencement as the university’s leader, and he was given the title of president emeritus by the board of regents.

Also at the ceremony, 14 graduates of the ROTC program were commissioned as second lieutenants in the United States Army.

When she appeared on stage at Alumni Coliseum, Obama was met with a lengthy standing ovation and loud cheers and whistles that continued for more than a minute.

Starting her speech with a rousing “Go Colonels!”, Obama noted how many students had stood up earlier when they were recognized as first-generation college graduates in their families.

“For so many of you, I know that graduating from college was not a foregone conclusion,” Obama said.

She said with pride that her working-class parents did everything they could to support her college dreams. Although they did not have much money, the values they instilled in her were a much greater gift.

The First Lady recognized graduates’ parents who had given the same gift to the young men and women that were receiving degrees Saturday.

To highlight the importance of developing key values, skills and talents, Obama posed three questions to the graduates.

“Who do you want to be?”

Obama asked the graduates how they would react to the difficult times in life – failing to get that dream job, having students who don’t respond to lessons or a boss who sets seemingly unattainable goals.

“These are the moments that define us — not the day you get the promotion, not the day you win teacher of the year, but the times that force you to claw and scratch and fight just to get through the day,” Obama said. “The moments when you get knocked down and you’re wondering whether it’s even worth it to get back up.”

The First Lady said a growing body of research has shown that character traits like resilience and conscientiousness matter more for overall success than IQ or test scores.

“How will you serve others?”

Obama recognized EKU’s “extraordinary culture of service” and the fact the school awards college credit for military experience.

“But graduates, you can’t stop serving once you leave here,” the First Lady said.

She also touched on the strong role EKU has played in veterans’ lives with her third question to graduates.

“Who will you include in your lives?”

Obama asked the audience to imagine what it would be like to go from combat to attending classes on a college campus. She noted it can be an isolating experience, but EKU has worked hard to make veterans a part of the “vibrant” campus community.

“As you move on, you’re going to come across all kinds of people from all different places and faiths and walks of life,” Obama said. She urged the graduates to reach out to those who are different than them.

“That’s what’s always made this country great — embracing the diversity of experience and opinion that surrounds us everywhere we go,” the First Lady said.

She told students if they engage others with an open mind and open heart, “I guarantee you’ll learn something.”

“So you can either choose to use those opportunities to continue fighting the fights that we’ve been locked in for decades, or you can choose to reject those old divisions and embrace folks with a different point of view,” she said.

The answers to the three questions are key values that will move businesses, schools and the country forward, Obama said in the conclusion of her speech.

“They’re the values you learned from your parents, from the communities you grew up in,” Obama said. “They’re the skills you developed here at EKU as you worked so hard to make it to this day.”

The First Lady ended her speech by telling students they can go anywhere they choose in life.

“So be proud, and never, ever doubt yourselves,” she said. “Walk boldly on that road ahead, no matter where it takes you. And please spread those values everywhere you go. We need it more than ever before.”

1
Text Only
Education
  • 7-22 Band Camp 1.jpg Band students ‛take over’ MCHS campus

    The Madison Central High School campus has been “taken over” for two weeks by 170 students attending band camp.

    July 21, 2014 6 Photos

  • 7-22 Child vs Wild Camp 3.jpg Campers learn hazards of the ‛wild’

    Fifteen “Child vs. Wild” campers crowded around a plate full of gooey marshmallows, freshly toasted by camp leaders on a St. Mark Catholic School stovetop Monday.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • MCHS, Caudill win world archery titles

    Caudill Middle School and Madison Central High School won their divisions in the National Archery in Schools Program World Championships in Madison, Wisc. this past weekend

    The win is a third consecutive title for Caudill Middle School and a first for MCHS.

    July 13, 2014

  • 7-12 White Hall principal.jpg Eversole returns to White Hall as principal

    The White Hall Elementary School-based Decision-making Council has selected Monica Eversole as the school’s new principal.
    Eversole was serving as guidance counselor at Lexington’s Dixie Magnet Elementary School.

    July 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • School board to save $53,000 yearly by refinancing bonds

    The Madison County School Board authorized issuance of almost $10.5 million in school building revenue bonds at its monthly meeting Thursday.
    The board approved a recommendation from the Madison County School District Finance Corporation to issue slightly more than $10.49 million in bonds to help finance renovation projects at three district elementary schools.

    July 12, 2014

  • Madison Kindergarten Academy at Mayfield

    The kindergarten center that will serve the county’s four Richmond elementary schools will be known as the Madison Kindergarten Academy at Mayfield.
    The Madison County School Board at its monthly meeting Thursday night chose the name for the all-kindergarten academy that will be housed in the former Mayfield Elementary School.

    July 10, 2014

  • Naming of kindergarten academy on school board agenda

    Naming of the new kindergarten academy to be housed in the former Mayfield Elementary School building is on the Madison County School Board’s agenda Thursday evening.
    The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the Madison Central High School lecture lab.

    July 8, 2014

  • Bluegrass Christian School closes

    Bluegrass Christian School did not get enough enrollment contracts by June 30, and its board of directors has decided to cease operations.
    The school will be dissolved Aug. 1., according to a Tuesday statement from the six-member board.
    Families may pick up transcripts, records and prepaid tuition or application fees the week of July 21, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the statement added.

    July 2, 2014

  • County schools may rent EKU Center at cost

    The EKU Center for the Arts will allow Madison County Schools to rent space at the center’s cost, its community operations board decided Thursday.
    At-cost rental has always been available for university events, but Thursday’s vote extended it to the county school district, Joel Aalberts, EKU Center director, said Friday.

    June 27, 2014

  • 6-27 Hot Air Balloon 1.jpg Up, up and away

    Children attending the St. Mark Catholic School “All Things That Go” Live, Learn, and Grow” day camp spent time in the air Thursday above E.C. Million Park.
    From the basket of a tethered hot-air ballon, they got to see and feel how wind and heat help things move.

    June 27, 2014 7 Photos

AP Video
Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament Disabled Veterans Memorial Nearing Completion Last Mass Lynching in U.S. Remains Unsolved Home-sharing Programs Help Seniors Ex-NYC Mayor: US Should Allow Flights to Israel
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

What county fair attraction do you like most?

Amusement rides
Beauty pageants
Flora Hall craft exhibits
Horse shows
Livestock, poultry shows
Truck, tractor pulls
Mud, dirt races
Gospel sing
I like them all
     View Results