Higher Education
2:45 pm
Thu April 11, 2013

First Lady Michelle Obama to Speak at EKU Commencement

Credit whitehouse.gov

First Lady Michelle Obama will participate in  Eastern Kentucky University's May commencement ceremony. 

EKU President Doug Whitlock says his office got a call from a member of the First Lady’s staff almost a week ago.  Eastern is receiving national attention for the help it gives Veterans working to further their education.  Whitlock says it caught the eye of Mrs. Obama.  A White House staff member asked if she could attend the University’s graduation ceremony.  Saying it was more than okay, Whitlock says the school was seeking a speaker for the third exercise. In fact, he says it was the only one her schedule would permit.

"It’s a great honor.  It’s a great opportunity for us and I’m just personally thrilled that at the last commencement exercise over which I’ll preside as president, that the First Lady of the United States is gonna speak and receive an honorary degree from EKU,” said Whitlock.

Whitlock says it’s been a whirlwind of activity since his office got the call a week ago.   He says it’s been 53 years since anything rivaling this visit took place at the Richmond campus.

“When Lyndon Johnson was Vice President, he spoke here in 1960 and that was a huge thing and boost for Eastern then and the instantaneous media coverage of things was nothing then like it is today,” added Whitlock.

The First Lady has a keen interest in military families.  And Whitlock says EKU is receiving national attention for the help it gives veterans working on a college degree.

“I don’t have to assess it.  The military times magazine has assessed it for us and two of the last three years including the year we’re in, they’ve concluded that we’re the best in the country and I think veterans have noticed that too.” explained Whitlock.

Michelle Obama will address degree candidates from the Colleges of Education and Business and Technology on Saturday evening, May 11th.