This is a summary of President Biden’s speech at the Howard University Class of 2023 Commencement Address on May 13, 2023.
President Biden thanked the university president, the faculty, the staff, and the graduates for inviting him to speak at their graduation ceremony. He also congratulated the honorees, including Prime Minister Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago, and Dr. Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University and chair of his White House Board of Advisors on HBCUs.
He praised Howard University as a place of excellence, diversity, and innovation, and urged the graduates to use their education and skills to make a positive difference in the world. He said they were graduating at a new moment of hope and possibilities, but also faced new challenges such as climate change, economic inequality, and threats to democracy.
He highlighted some of his administration’s achievements and priorities, such as increasing funding for HBCUs, expanding access to healthcare, creating jobs and infrastructure, strengthening alliances and partnerships, and defending human rights and the rule of law. He also reaffirmed his commitment to the defense of the Philippines, especially in the South China Sea.
He ended his speech by quoting Howard alumna Toni Morrison: “We die. That may be the meaning of life. But we do language. That may be the measure of our lives.” He encouraged the graduates to use their language to tell their stories, to speak truth to power, and to inspire others to action. He said they were the future leaders of America and the world, and he was proud of them.
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