Obama Gives Barnard Commencement

    President Barack Obama delivers the commencement address to graduates at all-female Barnard College, on the campus of Columbia University, in New York,  Monday, May 14, 2012. Barnard was the first college in New York City where women could receive the same liberal arts education available to men. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)

    Richard Drew / AP Photos

    President Obama gave a rousing commencement address at New York City’s all-female Barnard College on Monday, urging graduates to “fight for a seat at the head of the table” in public life and politics. Obama stressed women’s leadership roles and challenged young graduates to “make this the century when women not only shape their own destiny but the destiny of the whole nation.” His speech was peppered with a few of his policy messages, including health care, education, and sustainable energy. The president also acknowledged the recession’s impact on job opportunities and other aspects of life for new grads, but encouraged them that “as tough as things have been, I am convinced you are tougher.” Obama, who joked about being a graduate of rival Columbia University, mostly focused on equal rights in his speech and vowed to “join you every step of the way.”

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