First Lady Urges Grads to Serve Community

May 12, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama on the big screen during EKU Commencement exercises.

Many college graduates across Kentucky may be set on finding just the right job.  But,  they were reminded over the weekend of other priorities.  During commencement exercises Saturday evening at Eastern Kentucky University, First Lady Michelle Obama reminded graduates that providing ‘service’ to the community should be a priority after college.

“All you have to do is take a look around your own community.  Are there kids in your neighborhood who could use a mentor?  Can you volunteer with an organization that serves military families?  Can you pick up a few extra cans of vegetables and donate them to a food bank?  I mean these things may seem so small, but they really make a difference,” said Obama.

It was EKU’s success in reaching out to military veterans which attracted the First Lady’s attention to the Richmond-based University.  When coming home after combat, Mrs. Obama said it’s easy to feel isolated.  She applauded the EKU community for making vets feel comfortable.

During the stop at EKU, the First Lady put in a plug for bi-partisanship.  In addressing EKU grads, Mrs. Obama suggested they get to know people different from themselves.  She said it may come in visiting a church that practices a different faith.  Or, in getting to know someone who’s politics differ from their own.

“If you’re a Democrat, spend some time talking to a Republican.  And if you’re a Republican, have a chat with a Democrat.  Maybe you’ll find some common ground, maybe you won’t. But if you honestly engage with an open mind and an open heart, I guarantee you will learn something,” added Obama.

It was a busy weekend on many Kentucky university campuses.  In addition to Eastern, commencement exercises were also held at Murray State, Morehead State, Kentucky State, Western Kentucky, and the University of Louisville.