Obama Inspires Morehouse Graduates with Commencement Speech

The president urges Morehouse men to use their power to help those in need.

Posted: 05/20/2013 11:46 AM EDT
Obama at Morehouse College

President Barack Obama delivered the commencement speech during Morehouse College's ceremony on Sunday and shared words of inspiration with the graduating men at the HBCU. Obama urged the graduates to remember to be of service of others and use their knowledge to help their communities rather than seek fame and fortune.

"So yes, go get that law degree. But if you do, ask yourself if the only option is to defend the rich and powerful, or if you can also find time to defend the powerless," Obama said. "Sure, go get your MBA, or start that business, we need Black businesses out there. But ask yourself what broader purpose your business might serve, in putting people to work, or transforming a neighborhood."

"The most successful CEOs I know didn't start out intent on making money, rather, they had a vision of how their product or service would change things, and the money followed," he added.

Obama added personal touches to his speech noting how his absentee father drove him to be a better father to daughters Sasha and Malia and a better husband to Michelle. He also reminded his audience not to use excuses or failings to keep from doing the correct thing and that success means nothing if you don't take care of your family.

"I know that when I'm on my deathbed someday, I won't be thinking about any particular legislation I passed, or policy I promoted. I won't be thinking about the speech I gave, or the Nobel Prize I received," Obama said. "I'll be thinking about a walk I took with my daughters, a lazy afternoon with my wife, whether I did right by all of them."

To read the full commencement speech, click here.


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(Photo: Carolyn Kaster/AP Photo)

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