First Lady Fulfills Deal to GW Grads

Students complete community service hours for commencement speech

By Teneille Gibson
|  Monday, May 17, 2010  |  Updated 6:28 AM EDT
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WASHINGTON - MAY 16: First lady Michelle Obama speaks during the 2010 George Washington University commencement at the National Mall on May 16, 2010 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images)

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Michelle Obama Speaks at GWU Graduation

Michelle Obama kept her promise to speak at the 2010 George Washington University graduation in exchange for the students completing 100,000 hours of community service.
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Hard work paid off for graduating students at George Washington University, for not only completing their academic studies, but thousands of hours of community service.

First lady Michelle Obama promised students that if they completed 100,000 hours of community service, she would speak at their graduation.

Well, guess what?  About 5,000 students took Obama at her word and on Sunday she delivered the commencement address at a cool location -- the National Mall. The school completed more than 163,000 hours of community service, ensuring an Obama appearance.

"I have one more request to make of you, one more challenge,'' Obama said. "Keep going. Keep giving. Keep engaging.''

Graduates in black robes cheered as Obama spoke with the Capitol behind her.

"So many of today's challenges are borderless, from the economy to terrorism, to climate change ... you are uniquely equipped to
solve those challenges,'' said Obama, who spoke for about 30 minutes.  Click here to read the full text of Obama's speech.

Obama said that at her husband's inauguration, "he pledged to seek a new era of American engagement and he asked each of us to embrace anew our duties.''

"Now I'm not a president. I'm just a citizen. But as a citizen I'm asking you as graduates of this global institution to seize those responsibilities gladly,'' she said. "I'm asking you to play your part.''

The first lady also received an honorary doctorate in public service.

Last weekend, Obama addressed grads at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, a historically black college. Next up, the first lady will deliver words at the graduation of Anacostia Senior High School in southeast Washington.

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