First Lady Michelle Obama to Address Class of 2015

April 21, 2015

Communications Staff

The White House

First Lady Michelle Obama will address the Oberlin College Class of 2015 at its Commencement ceremony at 10 a.m., Monday, May 25. Mrs. Obama will be presented with the honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.

"We are thrilled that the First Lady has chosen to come to Oberlin's Commencement to recognize our community partnerships and our commitment to providing educational opportunities,” said Oberlin College President Marvin Krislov.

For nearly two centuries, Oberlin College has been a beacon of opportunity for traditionally underrepresented students. Oberlin was the first college in America to adopt a policy to admit African American students (1835) and the first to grant bachelor’s degrees to women (1841) in a coeducational program. Oberlin is also home to the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the United States, which was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Obama in 2009.

Embracing the ethos of the First Lady’s “Reach Higher” initiative, Oberlin College’s Ninde Scholars program provides support and college access services to a group of 7th-12th graders in the Oberlin City Schools. Since its inception in 2005, approximately 80 percent of the participants have attended college or graduated from a four-year college. A video about the Ninde Scholars program produced by Oberlin College senior Patrick Gilfether, featuring mentor and Oberlin College junior Amethyst Carey and Oberlin High School senior Morgan K. Smith, was selected as the winner of the First Lady’s national Near-Peer Video Commencement Challenge.

Marian Wright Edelman, founder and president of the Children's Defense Fund (CDF), will also deliver a Commencement address. Edelman has been an advocate for disadvantaged Americans for her entire professional life. Under her leadership, CDF has become one of the nation's strongest voices for children and families.

This year Oberlin College will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Commencement address presented by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in June 1965. Rev. King gave a Commencement address entitled “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution” and was presented with the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

Commencement will be open to press, but space is limited. Members of the media who wish to cover the ceremony must RSVP directly to the contact listed below by May 18.


Scott Wargo

Director of Media Relations

Oberlin College


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