As college graduates from across the nation celebrated their big day virtually, ESSENCE was proud to partner with Chase to shine a special spotlight on graduates from Historically Black Colleges and Universities with the #ShowMeYourWalk – HBCU Edition virtual graduation ceremony.
Missed the official #ShowMeYourWalk – HBCU Edition virtual graduation ceremony? Click HERE to watch the full program now on ESSENCE Studios!
Streamed live from the ESSENCE Studios platform, the 2-hour program featured a host of guest speakers, performances, as well as a few segments celebrating the achievements of several graduates individually.
But the highlight for many was a closing address from former president, Barack Obama.
Many students from around the world have taken to social media to share their disappointment about not being able to have a traditional graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Obama had a few keen words to remind them that being a part of this very special graduating class is indeed something to celebrate, for more reasons than one.
“Congratulations to the HBCU class of 2020; Michelle and I are so proud of you,” he said to open his message. “Graduating from college is a big achievement under any circumstances and so many of you overcame a lot to get here. You navigated challenges in and outside of the classroom. Many of you had to stretch to afford tuition and many of you are the first in your families to go to college.”
Several moments of his message also heard the 44th U.S. President address HBCU graduates with a more lighthearted tone.
“While our HBCUs are mostly known for an education rooted in academic rigor, community and higher purpose, they also know how to turn up. Nobody shines quite like a senior on the yard in springtime. Springfest at schools like Howard and Morehouse; that’s the time when you get to strut your stuff a little bit.”
Obama also praised the graduates for choosing to attend an HBCU.
“Many of you could’ve attended any school in this country,” he continued. “But you chose an HBCU, specifically because it would help you sow seeds of change. You chose to follow in the fearless footsteps of people who shook the system to its’ core. Civil rights icons like Thurgood Marshall and Dr. King; story tellers like Toni Morrison and Spike Lee.”
In closing, he offered words of affirmation and empowerment.
“You’re the folks we’ve been waiting for to come along, that’s the power you hold,” he said. “I’m so proud of you and as you set out to change the world, we’ll be the wind in your back.”
Watch President Obama’s powerful speech in full above, where he also offered graduates three key points of advice, spoke about Amaud Aubrey and more. To re-watch the entire #ShowMeYourWalk – HBCU Edition program, head over to www.essencestudios.com