Obama Tells Hampton Grads: “Education Can Fortity You”

Published by Pamela Gentry on Sunday, May 9, 2010 at 11:53 pm.

By Pamela Gentry, Senior Political Analyst

May 10, 2010 – President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address to 2,000 graduates and their families during the 140th graduation ceremony at Hampton University on Sunday.

The president told the class of 2010, “This is a period of breathtaking change” in history and those who are well educated will be able to shape change and adapt to meet the test of their lifetime.

“First and foremost, your education can fortify you against the uncertainties of a 21st century economy,” Obama told the graduates.  

More than 12,000 folks filled the stadium to witness 1,072 graduates receiving their undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees. 

“Jobs today often require at least a bachelor’s degree, and that degree is even more important in tough times like these.  In fact, the unemployment rate for folks who’ve never gone to college is over twice as high as for folks with a college degree or more,” Obama pointed out.

He also addressed the educational disparities for African American.  “By any number of different yardsticks, African Americans are being outperformed by their White classmates, as are Hispanic Americans,” Obama said.

The same is true when income is a factor, pointing out students from more affluent areas are outperforming students in poorer rural or urban communities regardless of race.  
“Globally, it’s not even close,” he said. “In 8th grade science and math, for example, American students are ranked about 10th overall compared to top-performing countries.  But African Americans are ranked behind more than 20 nations, lower than nearly every other developed country.”

“So all of us have a responsibility, as Americans, to change this; to offer every single child in this country an education that will make them competitive in our knowledge economy.  That is our obligation as a nation,” Obama told the crowd.

Hampton University’s enrollment is 5,400 and a couple of alum working at the White House accompanied the president to the commencement including; Danielle Crutchfield, director of scheduling, Dana Lewis, from the first lady’s office and Rashad Drakeford from the U.S. Department of Energy. .

After the speech the president was give a Hampton University jacket with his name and title and a seedling from the Emancipation Oak – a national historic landmark on the campus.
The president was also awarded an honorary doctor of laws. He joked, “This is much less expensive than my last law degree.”

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Ricardo Suber said on May 10th, 2010

I’m very, very proud that Barack Obama spoke at my Alma Mater, Hampton University! Congrats and good luck graduates!

Ricardo S.
Class of 2004

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glynis washington-devance said on May 10th, 2010

It is really good to talk to someone about politics. I think it is good to have a black women as a judge, but just today President Obama made an appointment to the high count. Ms. Kagan, I believe. Now if there was a qualify black woman to be a judge, he would have nominated her. After reading your article about the President’s message to the gradurates, did he mention about employment and where will they get employ or be employed. There are people who have lost their jobs and we keep producting workers, but no jobs. One place where money and employees is needed at the Department Of Immigration. We have people coming to our country, legal and illegally. We need people to check on people who are in our country, check their statues. What happen in New York, should not had happen. What Arizona laws has done, to deal with immigration may be wrong, but the problem have to be dealt with. Our country is in a state where we need to set some guide lines. Our economy has been effected to the point, where people like myself who have work all their life, paid into the system, who I am suppose to depend on to help me, when I became disable. My health and dental care is worthless. I had surgery on my neck. The strew in my neck came apart, I can’t get another doctor to redo the surgery, because doctors do not like to do work over other doctor, all my dentist can do to my teeth is to put them. I have to paid for tje gas, which is $120.00 dollars. My son, need a bridge, I have to take out a loan. But there people who are here illegally, and they can get all the help they need, they can get Section 8, Welfare, Food Stamps, they can even buy a house. Who figure.

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Bama said on May 11th, 2010

These are scary times for black people. We have a black president, and black so called leaders support illegal immigration in this country. The Arizona bill is correct. We are in a recession and still giving money to sanctuary cities to help illegals take jobs from black people what sense does that make. Obama does nothing for black people we know this by now and he will not until he needs us. Obama is a divider thats where he gets his strength like Rev Shapton, and Jackson. Obama has such a low opinion of black people he would like hispanic support instead of black support. We are becoming a lost people because our black leadersip is selling us out and not guiding us in the right direction for our betterment. Sorry Pam, Obama is the worst enemy for black people.

jfffnn said on May 11th, 2010

Just who do you think is a Black “leader” ?Somebody like Alan Keys,Micheal Steele, or somebody like Thomas on the S.C. I had too ask because it appears that way via your post.

ArriusTell said on May 11th, 2010

This POTUS don’t really have no connection with Afro Americans/blacks Americans, he use your passion and hope to get the vote to be elected… But ask yourselves this question….

Where are the jobs for you?

Where / when has POTUS Obama visited poor communities in and outside the cities to promote jobs and better housing?

When has POTUS Obama been to Harlem, Watts, Detroit, KC and spend billions of US dollars on inner citie communities… I see billions to Banks, mortgage companies, Auto makers… Where is the Beef…

Show and tell me where and when?

“Dictatorship is a constant lecture instructing you that your feelings, your thoughts and desires are of no account, that you are a nobody and must live as you are told by other people who desire and think for you”
Stephen Vizinczey

-+- -+-

Bama said on May 11th, 2010

@ jfffnn our last black leader has MLK we have not had one since than. I say that because he would put his life on the line for us thats why we would listen too him. I have said this before trust is very important to have between us and the leadership in washington, Obama and his admin has done more to make me distrust him than any black leader I know. Can you honestly say you feel you can trust Obama and the people he surrounds himself with? A black leader will us we can do anything, not someone is stopping us from accomplishing anything. We need to be reminded that we are a great people not that we need to be taken care of.

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sandi bliguin said on May 12th, 2010

borak obama is a creep. I cant wait until his term is done. he’s just being used for a short period of time.

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