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First Lady Michelle Obama Tells North Carolina A&T University Class of 2012 "We Need You"

In her commencement address to the Aggies, Mrs Obama challenged the graduates to carry on the legacy of the Greensboro Four, the legendary civil rights leaders who met in an A&T dorm
First Lady Michele Obama at the North Carolina Agriculture & Technology Commencement Ceremony

Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. presents First Lady Michelle Obama with a hood signifying her honorary degree following her commencement address during the North Carolina Agriculture and Technology State University commencement ceremony in Greensboro, N.C., May 12, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

First Lady Michelle Obama invoked the example of the "Greensboro Four" in her commencement address to North Carolina A&T University's class of 2012. More than half a century ago, four A&T students started the movement that led to desegregation at lunch counters across the country, and Mrs Obama said this shows what can happen when someone decides to "wake up and change the situation." The First Lady challenged the students to follow their lead:

As graduates of this proud university, as young people like those who always stoked the fires of progress, our country is counting on all of you to step forward and help us with the work that remains.  We need you.

Mrs Obama also challeged each member of the graduating class to think about what’s important, and ask themselves three questions:

  • Who are you going to be?
  • What’s going on in the world around me? and
  • How can I help?

The answers, she said, would help the graduated keep their bearings as they advanced in their careers and in their lives as citizens: 

You’ve got to figure out what matters to you and stay true to those values. You’ve got to keep your eyes open as you make your way in the world....

The fact is, we simply cannot move forward unless all of us are engaged. And being engaged means not simply recognizing what’s wrong, not simply complaining about and talking about our problems, but acting. It means waking up and changing the situation.  And that’s a lesson that so many of you have already begun to learn during your time here at A&T... 
And with that kind of action and that kind of commitment, all of you have begun to carry on that proud legacy of the Greensboro Four.

North Carolina A&T Students React as First Lady Michele Obama Delivers the Commencement Address

Students react as First Lady Michele Obama delivers the commencement address at the North Carolina Agriculture & Technology commencement ceremony in Greensboro, N.C., May 12, 2012 (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

This was Mrs. Obama's second commencement address of 2012. You can read her full remarks here