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Full Transcript: Barack Obama’s Commencement Speech: Dear Class Of 2020

Full text of former President Barack Obama’s virtual commencement speech titled “Dear Class Of 2020” where he shares a message of optimism with the Class of 2020, their families, and their communities.


Barack Obama:

Congratulations to the Class of 2020.

Some of you have graduated already. Some of you still have finals. All of you should be very proud.

Graduation is a big achievement under any circumstances. Yours comes as the world is turned upside down, by a pandemic, and by a country that’s been swept up by protest.

I can barely imagine how head-spinning these last few months have been for you. Just as winter was thawing and you were thinking about spring break, those of you who are away at college were either whisked home or stayed behind on a shuttered campus.

Most of you had to finish semesters online which had its ups and downs. You didn’t have to worry about what you wore to class, but watching your teachers and professors try to work Zoom wasn’t always pretty either.

Either way, none of this is how any of you imagined finishing your final spring at school.

Even if we can’t all gather in person, I want you to remember that a graduation ceremony doesn’t celebrate just a moment in time. It’s the culmination of all your years of learning about the world and about yourself.

The friends and family who supported you every step of the way, they aren’t celebrating a piece of paper, they’re celebrating you. How you’ve grown, the challenges you’ve overcome and the experiences you’ve shared.

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