In his speech at Rutgers University Saturday, President Obama joked with the graduates.
He said: “Now, it's true that a lot of schools invite me to their commencement every year. But you are the first to launch a three-year campaign. Emails, letters, tweets, YouTube videos. I even got three notes from the grandmother of your student body president. And I have to say that really sealed the deal. That was smart, because I have a soft spot for grandmas.”
During Ryan Seacrest’s commencement speech at University of Georgia Sunday, he said: “The world is also full of purpose and opportunity…inspiration…creativity and excitement. And there are many more good people than bad.”
At University of Pennsylvania, Sunday, Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda taught grads about the American spirit and the importance of immigration.
“In a year when politicians traffic in anti-immigrant rhetoric, there is also a Broadway musical reminding us that a broke, orphan immigrant from the West Indies built our financial system,” he said. “A story that reminds us that since the beginning of the great unfinished symphony that is our American experiment, time and time again, immigrants get the job done.”
NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar spoke at Drew University over the weekend and discussed the American dream.
He said: “Today, that warped concept of the American dream is embodied by the Kim Kardashian phenomenon: fame and fortune heaped upon someone who offers no particular talent except self-promotion. She has more than 40 million followers on Twitter, but her insights are the Styrofoam peanuts of popular culture. Money for nothing indeed.
“Each generation must customize the American dream to fit their own circumstances and the realities of the world around them. Instead of promoting a generic dream, we need to encourage each new generation to prioritize their own values. Polls indicate that, as opposed to previous generations, millennials see travel as a major part of the American dream, as well as self-employment, and defining close friends as part of their family. This re-imagining is exactly what you should be doing.”
At Jackson State University last month, first lady Michelle Obama told the outgoing class: “I want you to honor the legacy of our past by making your mark on the future.
“Graduates, I want you to choose a career that you believe in, something that doesn’t just make money but that truly makes a difference for others. And I want you to do whatever you can to reach back and pull those who still are struggling with you.”