The University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls has learned that First Lady Michelle Obama will deliver commencement address later this spring. U.N.I. director of university relations, Jim O’Connor, says the president was originally invited to speak.
O’Connor says a mother of one of the college’s students sent a letter to the president last summer saying her son liked the school and if he ever did a commencement address, she would like him to speak at U.N.I. The president was apparently unable to fit the speech into his schedule, but the university received a letter a few days ago saying that the First Lady would be able to speak.
O’Connor says the theme of Mrs. Obama speech will center on service. He says the First Lady will speak about her story of being the first person in her family to get a college degree and the impact of higher education on her life, and her “passion for service,” and the importance of students being involved in service throughout their lives.
O’Connor says the school is busy preparing for the visit now that they know it is set. O’Connor says the school has a long history of bringing “very robust speakers” to campus, including Martin Luther King, and just last May, the Dahli Lama. O’Connor says they had planned to hold three separate graduation ceremonies, but they now will hold one combined ceremony in the UNI-Dome.
He says they will have general admission seating in the UNI-Dome, with tickets required, but the tickets will be free. O’Connor says graduates and faculty will be able to get their tickets first, and then it will be open to the public. You can find out more on the U.N.I. website at: www.UNI.edu.
The visit to Iowa by Michell Obama on May seventh will be her first since the 2008 election.