The commencement address was held by Barack Obama at Wesleyan University, for the Class of 2008 graduates. The ceremony for commencement is a way of affirming knowledge for every student. The speech at the ceremony put the hard work of students into a context of what is expected of them in the future. The commencement speech from a number of addresses helps the students in learning. The ceremony is often accompanied by several events, but, the words are mostly reserved for significant occasions and may ring inspirational and true at all times. The speech by President Barrack Obama had tremendous remarks. In addition, the speech was electric and unique in a way. The speech was significant and relevant to the current happenings in the country and globe as a whole. This was the first commencement speech by the president in the graduation season. The speech dwelt mostly on public service.
The address by Obama was in place of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy. In his speech, he paid homage to the Massachusetts Democrat and his family. He explained how they used their lives in selling the graduates to the public service. This he did by use of the story of Kennedy who was once a volunteer in Peace Corps, and chose the service since he wanted to serve the country (Wills 2).
Listening to the speech with an open heart, celebrating, and recognizing the commencement address places a person in a firm position of progress in all contexts of human life. The president in his speech urged the student to follow the example of Kennedy’s family. He asked the Wesleyan university graduates to pursue causes that are greater than their own selves. He added that there in nothing impossible about the graduates that can make them not change the world to be a better place to live. Obama advised the graduates to look beyond the culture of money and what it can buy (Katie 6). The obligation that every individual performs was emphasized in his speech. Moreover, Obama said that the collective salvation depends to a great extent on the individual salvation and obligations. This can make a person realize the true potential of his worth and discover the responsibility one can play in writing the history of the nation.
He challenged the graduates that they do not have an excuse of not serving the country. The speech was devoid of political references. This caused applauses and good natured laughs. The tone of the speech was subdued because of the circumstances at which it was delivered. The message for public service was appropriate for the audience. The president himself had once worked as a community organizer. This provided a better dynamic for the commencement which was at a miniature liberal arts college as Obama is the presumptive Democratic presidential candidate. There were thousands of people at the Foss Hill. These included the graduates, their families, alumni, and friends. The president used Kennedy’s legacy as a platform for urging the gathering to serve the nation. In addition, the example of him, that was given, was exemplary. He told the graduates about his biography and his rise to the political scene. The stories were used to challenge the graduates to also serve the country in public service. This, he said, is the best way of one finding his way in life (Wills 4). He reminded the graduate that it is only when one does something substantial for the nation that he realizes his true potential. The president implored the graduates to change the nation and the entire globe by offering service to others. This is the same theme that Mr. Kennedy has always emphasized on in his speeches. In addition, the president told them to start the public service by helping to rebuild New Orleans. This can be done, by volunteering, helping in disasters or local social amenities. The graduates were reminded that change will eventually come, but, it will not come at once.