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Posted on Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 7:45 p.m.

President Barack Obama to deliver University of Michigan spring 2010 commencement

By Juliana Keeping

President Barack Obama will deliver the spring 2010 commencement address at the University of Michigan, where he will receive an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree, U-M announced Thursday evening.

“President Obama has captured the imagination and enthusiasm of many students with his inspiring words of hope and change. We are honored to welcome a leader of his distinction and look forward to his message,” U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said in a written statement. “We could not be happier for the graduates who will celebrate their academic achievements with the president of the United States.”


President Barack Obama will deliver U-M's commencement address May 1.

The Associated Press

The ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. May 1 in Michigan Stadium. U-M officials said further details of his visit will be announced soon.

It's unclear how long U-M has been working to bring Obama to Ann Arbor for commencement.

U-M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the university extended the invitation, and Obama accepted. He said he had no additional details to share, and U-M would not discuss any planned security measures for his visit.

Reaction to the news was swift and overwhelmingly positive.

U-M Regent Julia Donovan Darlow said she's overjoyed by the news.

"I think it will be wonderful for the students and the university," Donovan Darlow said. "I think it's tremendous."

Ann Arbor Mayor John Hieftje, who teaches a government course at U-M, said he hopes to be in attendance for Obama's speech.

"I think it's spectacular. It'll be good for the city and I look forward to hearing his message," Hieftje said.

Hieftje recalled the time he attended Vice President Al Gore's speech at the Community Center in 2000, while Gore was running for president and Hiefjte was running his first campaign for mayor of Ann Arbor.

Abhishek Mahanti, the Michigan Student Assembly president and a computer science engineering senior, said Obama's visit will be great for the ailing state, not just U-M and Ann Arbor. Mahanti said he'd heard rumors Obama's name was on the short list for commencement speaker and was optimistic it could happen.

"Everyone's excited to see Barack Obama come here," said Mahanti, who was celebrating in the student government offices with his peers. "It was surprising, but my optimism got the better of me."

Samuel Marvin, chairman of College Democrats at U-M, said Obama's announced visit has him thinking back to what he learned in class about Lyndon B. Johnson's 1964 speech at U-M, in which Johnson presented his goals for the Great Society. Marvin said he expects Obama's speech to be similar in message, looking toward the future.

"It would be cool to hear something similar," he said, mentioning education and health care reform as preferred topics.

Marvin said his group set two national records this past year for phone calls made during phone banks for Organizing for America, the grassroots effort building on the call-for-change movement that helped elect Obama. Marvin said his group made more than 8,000 calls toward that effort last semester alone. "This is something we've been hoping for," Marvin said. "It's pretty much the culmination of four years at this university."


In this May 17, 2009, file photo, President Barack Obama delivers his commencement address through a teleprompter during commencement ceremonies at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind.

Obama will be greeted by a Michigan economy suffering from an unemployment crisis.

“I don’t think he needs to hear this, but I think a lot us want to hear about jobs, and are we going to get them after we graduate?” said U-M graduate student Evangeline Harvey, who is graduating this spring with a master’s in education. “I have a feeling that that’s one of his reasons for doing this.”

Anne Bishop, an evolutionary anthropology senior at U-M, is graduating this spring.

"I can't believe it," said Bishop, an Obama fan whose family is from the Chicago area. "I called all my friends already. They're so excited."

Even members of the U-M College Republicans say they're looking forward to welcoming the president to campus - though they may not agree with his message.

"I'm not his biggest fan, but that's pretty impressive," said U-M sophomore Charles Bogren, the group's co-chair. "Whether I agree with his policies or not, it's great that the university can get somebody as prestigious as the president to deliver the commencement speech. It's no JFK on the steps of the Student Union, but it's still pretty cool."

Brady Smith, former chairman of the College Republicans, said he could hardly believe the news.

"I saw it on Facebook and then I had to double check, but I figured NPR is pretty reliable," he said.

Smith, who will be graduating this semester with a degree in history and political science, said he looks forward to hearing what Obama has to say. He said Obama sent the message during the 2008 primary that "Michigan doesn't matter" by staying off the ballot and not campaigning here.

"He has a lot of explaining to do," he said. "And I'm not so sure that after over a year in office college graduates now are any more optimistic than they were a year ago. He does have some explaining to do, certainly to the Midwest, on the economics."

Ann Arbor's business community welcomed news of Obama's visit - and the opportunity it could bring to promote the region.

“What a fantastic opportunity to showcase our region and to expose him to the innovations and the excitement” in the business community, said Elizabeth Parkinson, vice president of marketing and public relations for economic development firm Ann Arbor SPARK.

Related story

Ann Arbor’s business community invited Obama to tour local companies when he visited the region in early 2009 during the height of the global auto crisis. He didn’t visit the region then, but Parkinson said she’s hopeful he’ll make time to visit promising local companies in May.

Obama’s visit comes as U-M scientists and local companies have been actively seeking federal stimulus dollars to support their research and growth.

U-M said in September that it had received more than $100 million in grants from the $787 billion economic stimulus package. About half of that was from the National Institutes of Health for life sciences work. Another $19.5 million was devoted to establishing a solar energy research center.

Parkinson said Obama's decision to visit Ann Arbor is particularly appropriate due to the administration's financial commitment to the region.

“They’re backing us up with their policies and funding, and this is kind of the exclamation point that comes along with that,” Parkinson said.

Obama's visit also comes after his administration provided $65 billion in emergency loans to General Motors and Chrysler to keep the Michigan-based automakers from liquidating last year.

Obama spoke at three college commencements in spring 2009: Arizona State University, the University of Notre Dame and the U.S. Naval Academy.

Obama’s address comes 10 years and one day after former President Bill Clinton delivered the commencement address at Eastern Michigan University while in office in 2000. Clinton also delivered the U-M spring commencement speech in 2007.

According to U-M, Obama will be the fourth sitting president to visit the Ann Arbor campus. The most recent was George H.W. Bush in May 1991. U-M alumnus Gerald R. Ford launched his re-election campaign at the university in September 1976. Lyndon B. Johnson was the first sitting president to visit U-M when he addressed the graduating class of 1964.'s Nathan Bomey and Ryan Stanton contributed to this story.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect a ceremony time change from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Juliana Keeping covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter



Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 7:37 p.m.

C-Span 1 will cover Pres. Obama's speech live.


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 2:27 p.m.

Carl Duncan, you're such a smart character, and it appears that you are lot more familiar with Ypsilanti crack dealers and community Pres. Obama, why don't you organize and contribute something positive for a change, something will help the surrounding communities, instead of complain?


Fri, Feb 19, 2010 : 2:21 p.m.

Clownfish, I commend your comments, could not have been said better and fact based. Thank you!!

Carl Duncan

Mon, Feb 15, 2010 : 2:35 p.m.

Suppose Obama makes it to Abes like Clinton did when he was running for reelection. Traffic was screwed up for hours. Regardless, would rather see Obama organize Ypsilanti Crack Dealers Association and see if he can get them to do something constructive for a change.


Sun, Feb 14, 2010 : 1:03 a.m.

Blaine Coleman writes: Actually, President Obama could stop every penny that goes to Israel. Why on Earth not? For one thing, the US Congress decides how much funding goes to our allies, not the president. For another, its excellent use of our tax money to subsidize one of the leading democratic bulwarks in the Middle East and a nation that is at the forefront of the battle against medieval, jihadist terrorists.


Sun, Feb 14, 2010 : 12:28 a.m.

Vs comparison of President Obama to Hitler is more than just offensive; it is odious and in very poor taste, to say the least. Bad enough to compare the president with Cheney and Stalin (whose name he misspelled with an _e_ instead of _i_). I just hope it was an unfortunate use of comparatives and not a genuine attempt to lump him in with two of the worst dictators in history. Cheney is a pretty foul character, too, but even Im not sure he quite sinks to the level of historys two worst personifications of evil. Please be more careful with your (mis)use of metaphors. Moderators, please note, as offensive as the remarks I'm commenting on are, I am attacking those statements and not the poster who made them lest I risk your deleting my comments (again).


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 8:56 p.m.

Sheesh, A2staff, pipe down. Let the commenters have a bit of latitude. After all, you can't separate a politician from politics. There's not one person here who believes the Pres will just blow into town and pat the graduates on the back. He brings with him the office of the President, and therefore cannot act as a simple citizen. So let the comments roll.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 1:36 p.m.

tony dearing and "big game'...tony although i've posted several times already here i hope ican respond to 'big games' inquiry about my possible "over-site" ( sic) at not mentioning anti -war protesters in my roster of recruits to a new country of "fanatistan" at the presidential visit: actually not all local anti war protesters are equal: some fall squarely into my "jihadist job fair " category and they, and many others, know exactly who they are ( several have posted here alot); more rational ones i have no trouble with at all ( although i personally support obama re afghanistan, pakistan drones and iran sanctions..and actually know quite a bit firsthand and at a professional scholarly level about the regions at issue). indeed i would strongly advise the non jihadi wannabe peace advocates to explicitly and unequivocally distance themselves from the former (as indeed most local established peace and justice groups have already done or are in the process of doing...) hope ive clarified to your satisfaction...if not the dec and feb ( and future) issues of the WASHTENAW JEWISH NEWS provide ample detail, incl photos,of just who should be highly suspect to relevant authorities/public at the presidential visit.

Big Game

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 12:07 p.m.

Clownfish A couple questions! True or false? Promised to "publish all non-emergency legislation to the website for five days... before the President signs it," promising to keep lobbyists out of his administration promised to eliminate income taxation for seniors making less than $50,000 a year. bragging that he would pass legislation without a single earmark and then signing a spending bill with literally thousands of them. Appointed Tom Daschle to the Department of Health and Human Services, who had to resign his nomination for the position because of tax evasion. Appointed Nancy Killefer for Chief Performance Officer, but she had to step down because she didn't pay her taxes either! AIG's second biggest campaign donation beneficiary: Barack Obama, If the president who did this was named Reagan or Bush what would you reply be? You can not bring yourself to admit one negative about Obama. You are like a teenage girl admiring a rock star!


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:48 a.m.

Trust me clownfish, I will most certainly be there to protest the President. Worst President since Jimmy Carter. Takes a Carter to get a Reagan!


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:47 a.m.

"You're either either with us or against us..." "Americans need to watch what they say,... Whose statements are these? At the time of pronouncement, did you agree or disagree? If you agreed then, why not now?

Big Game

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:42 a.m.

clownfish Ok I have no problem with you pointing out some Bush mistakes and inappropriate or even illegal actions. I won't dispute them. I think I spent one sentence defending him. "But I do believe HE at least believed in what he did". I don't hear you defending the actions I brought up of Obama, denying them or criticizing them. All you do is point to the short comings of the past. Have you lowered your standard of conduct for our present president? Will you ( or any Obama groupies)admit to ANY impropriety on the part of Obama? We should all hold our elected officials to a certain standard I don't care what their politics. I am just tired of all the slobbering over someone who has clearly shown he is not the Messiah! And who HAS not changed the face of Washington!


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:13 a.m.

BIG GAME< I won't get involved in a long dragged out debate, but... The Last Guy did promise to restore credibility to the White House, reduce the debt etc etc. If memory serves he had more of his employees CONVICTED of crimes than any other president, other than maybe Reagan. Not only that, before all of these people were convicted, Bush hired more already convicted felons than any other president. Obama could easily be described as "sticking to his guns" in the same manner as 43. For the telepromter crowd: have you seen Obamas hand? Whatever happened to "getting behind the president during wartime"? Was that just so much hooey after all?

Big Game

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 11:01 a.m.

bedrog I notice you did not mention the anti war segment. Was that omission intended or just an over site? I am sure you would not want to take away ANYONE'S right to gather peacefully. Or would you like to be the one than selects which citizens are worthy of expressing dissent? While I do not agree with some points of view, I would not want to take away their right to express it!


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 10:58 a.m.

What is truly amusing is that Bush/Cheney talked about inherited messes for two years, and were echoed in this by the echo chambers in the media. Bush/Cheney left the largest deficit ever left to an incoming president. Bush/Cheney left two unfinished wars, that has never been done before either. How can one NOT bring these things up when discussing how our current Commander in Chief is doing his job? The answer is: people do not want to take responsibility for supporting Bush/Cheney anymore. They are incapable of looking in the mirror and saying "I supported off budget spending to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars." So, they blame Obama for running up the debt they cheered two years ago. I hope Obama takes a couple of minutes to tell the graduating class that actions have results, that if they run a company into the ground, they do not deserve a huge payout (Borders, Home Depot)that if they run a community into debt they should not blame the next guy for doing what he thinks is necessary to fix the problems inherited. It used to be called "personal responsibility". But, that went out the door with Palin Family Values and the Roberts courts version of stari decisis and legislating from the bench. I encourage anybody that is opposed to the current Commander in Chief executing two wars go out and exercise YOUR rights to gather and protest. Just remember, if you shouted down anti-war protesters in 2003, remember to turn the megaphone around this time. Now the question is: will remove this post from the free speech zone of their blog?


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 10:02 a.m.

from many of these posts it sounds like the makings of a combo 'tea party', klan rally, jihadist job fair and generally enough malice to comprise a new country.."fanatistan" hope the organizers and secret service are on their toes and that this truly proud occasion is not marred by many...or any...of the above ( although there's alot to be said for extremists outing themselves when so much media scrutiny and security will be in place).

The Grinch

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 12:23 a.m.

No, Stunshif, I think we that Bush had enough failures that we don't need to add any more to the incredibly long list. No, we'll just understand that it will take the current president and his administration more than one year to fix the mess that the Shrub regime created in eight years. Like taking candy from a baby.

The Grinch

Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 12:23 a.m.

No, Stunshif, I think we that Bush had enough failures that we don't need to add any more to the incredibly long list. No, we'll just understand that it will take the current president and his administration more than one year to fix the mess that the Shrub regime created in eight years. Like taking candy from a baby.


Sat, Feb 13, 2010 : 12:10 a.m.

I knew somewhere along the line of comments here, someone was going to blame O'bama's failures thus far on George Bush. I am looking forward to O'bama's visit to Michigan. My brother and I are planning on picketing right in front of the stadium!

David Briegel

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 10:29 p.m.

Forked Tongue? Hmmmmm. WMD Iraqi oil will pay for our trouble We will be welcomed as liberators Iraq and Al Queda Nuclear Weapons No Allies, esp Muslim allies A Crusade Avenge the guy that tried to kill his Daddy Leaving Afghanistan to Osama and the Taliban Having to return to Afghanistan Iraq 3 trillion Afghanistan 2 trillion or more Paying for the debacle/folly "off the books" The only ones who could keep us safe (except when we needed them) Condi, Kamikaze Kamikaze, Condi Like Dick Clark Warned Us You are right, Obama has not been able to stop the cycle of corruption. All of which was just made legal by the Reagan/Bush, corporate owned, not so Supreme Court!

Big Game

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 8:35 p.m.

"Can we all agree that it is a nice change to have a president that is fluent in his native tongue?" If by native tongue you mean "forked tongue" I suspect we will continue to see him playing politics even though this day should be about the grads. He will spew more propaganda about "hope and change" I don't think he will give much Hope to the ones that he is creating such a huge debt for! And certainly nothing has Changed about the way Washington runs its business. They still do deals late at night when no one can watch!


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 6:12 p.m.

"Can we all agree that it is a nice change to have a president that is fluent in his native tongue?" Corps-men


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 3:47 p.m.

Mhirzel, if I misunderstood your words, perhaps you didn't frame them correctly. You were making a large, broad hypothetical deal about scenarios that have yet to come into play and will, I hope, never surface again, extreme freedom of speech suppression techniques that were common in Bush public appearances. My comment was basically on that. And, my almost throwaway remark was just a comparison between someone who can think and maybe accomplish some positive thingsdon't get me wrong, I'm not happy with the bulk of the Bush-era freedom-swiping policies being carried forth under Obamaand someone who was dangerously dumb, ignorant, uncurious, and acted and reacted like a drunken false cowboy. The wars, however, are, unfortunately a more complicated matter. All the same, I am happy that the President is coming to Ann Arbor to take part in the commencement ceremonies at UM. I don't think he is anywhere near the dangerous pretend president that G.W. Bush was. I don't think he's acting with that kind of blind, pseudo-macho belligerence and testiness. I think we should be glad that he's coming here, and hear him out. And Mr. Coleman (who tries to get in his true single-issue message by his sneaky avatar; by having that theme in his avatar, hes freed from having to actually mention it in his text on this or any other thread), as is evident and mentioned here by several others, the wars were truly inherited, another great legacy from Bush, especially the Iraq debacle. The mess is so horrendous and complexthe result of total lack of forethought and planning and common sense, etc. on the part of Bush's poor administration, no one can easily extricate themselves from it.

Atticus F.

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 3:05 p.m.

Blain those are all wars he inherited. So please dont refer to them as "his wars" as if he was the one who started the war.

The Grinch

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 1:57 p.m.

"Maybe next year they can have Beck or Hannity or alum Ann Coulter. Isn't this university all about diversity?" I agree!!! Let's bring the fact-free nothing-but-spin zone to Ann Arbor. The comedic value will be well worth whatever the expense might be,

Atticus F.

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 1:05 p.m.

@ clownfish, dont waste your breath, people like FREEDOMLOVER have ODS(Obama derangement syndrome)...They hate our president know matter how much good he acomplishes.

Atticus F.

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 12:55 p.m.

Great news, we will welcome President Obama with open arms. Amd Let me remind people that Obama was one of the few senators that stood up against the Iraq war...So dont give me any of this propaganda about him being a pro war president. He's simply dealing with the mess the most responsible way possible.

Scott Beal

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 12:40 p.m.

Pretty cool. The commencement speaker for my U-M graduating class was Cathy Guisewite.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 12:37 p.m.

Obama is not wanted here, doe not get any simpler! I hope he goes to Zingerman's and has a $9.00 sandwich.

Pete Bigelow

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 12:25 p.m.

This thread is veering off-course. Let's keep the comments focused on President Obama's upcoming visit to Ann Arbor. Thank you.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 11:52 a.m.

Mhirzel: Actually, it was when Bush appeared anywhere that t-shirts, bumper stickers, signs, verbalizations, even thoughts (?) that might be _considered_ in even the slightest manner not favorable to W and his policies that got one barred or removed and/or even arrested from a tightly-orchestrated Bush activity. A "Joe the (pseudo-)Plumber" (who was a set-up/ringer anyway) type who espoused liberal or at least anti-Bush views would have never, ever, ever been permitted to get anywhere near a program where Junior made an appearance even when he was running for the office of POTUS, let alone inches away from W once he was installed as J the "P" was allowed to with then candidate Obama. I've never heard of anything similar happening at events where President Obama is present. Yes, let's celebrate this honor for UM and Ann Arbor. At least the man is articulate and can speak in complete sentences. And, lest we forget, not only did Obama inherit the two Bushian wars, but it was Bush who received the biggest budget surplus in US history from President Clinton, which he promptly turned into our largest deficit ever--most particularly because of our stupid Iraq escapade, paid for with off-the-books dollars but still our tax money--and then passed it all on along with one of our biggest messes ever. I'm not sure anyone could have repaired or can fix the sorry state of affairs that Bush left us.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 10:04 a.m.

Maybe next year they can have Beck or Hannity or alum Ann Coulter. Isn't this university all about diversity?


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 9:44 a.m.

How much is all of this going to co$t???


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 9:35 a.m.

Your right!! No money for the Stadium bridge!! What is the bill for tax payers for the security??? No fly zone...President will get back door delivery... Visitor will be parking at Briarwood, AATA will be doing shuttle bus servics, so the daily riders will pay that bill!!


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 9:16 a.m.

Will there be "free speech zones", areas cordoned off by chain link fences were Americans can gather to express their opinions under the watchful eye of the Homeland Security Dept? FREEDOMLOVER, did you get to experience those zones during the previous admin? If Obama is "the Messiah", how did you react when Bush said "I feel like God wants me to run for President." Or are you just repeating what you hear on the telly?


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 9:09 a.m.

"I'm sooooo excited I can hardly contain myself. The Messiah is going to bless us with his presence" Reagan is coming back? With his teleprompter? cool! Can we all agree that it is a nice change to have a president that is fluent in his native tongue?


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 9:03 a.m.

This president has continued to prosecute two imperial wars of aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan, substantially escalating the latter. These are war crimes. President Obama is yet another of a long list of war criminals to be awarded honorary doctorates of laws by this institution. Take a stand against these war crimes when Obama comes to town. Take a stand on the 7th anniversary of the criminal war against Iraq.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 8:56 a.m.

"I hope the presidential motorcade travels over the Stadium bridges so he can see how local Democrats are ignoring their responsibilities." Interesting. Some complain that their kids money is being wasted by govt, others complain that govt is not doing enough. Moose, from where do you propose the city raise the money for the bridge repair if nobody wants to pay for it? As I understand the issue, the problem is where to come up with several tens of millions of dollars to do the work.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

I'm sooooo excited I can hardly contain myself. The Messiah is going to bless us with his presence. Maybe he'll bring us some of that hope and change.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 8:53 a.m.

Well, lets see: 1: Which "Marxist" president perfected the use of the teleprompter? (hint: he also ran up national debt and was the only pres to be divorced and to run with the Family Values crowd) 2: Most previous presidents have left debt to the next generation, the last one left over $700 billion. Where was the outrage? Why no tea bagging under Bush? 3: I remember a time, oh about 6-8 years ago, when those that attack Obama called those that attacked Bush "traitors" because we were at war and it was bad juju to attack a siting president during war. What happened to that sentiment? Is there a particular reason you folk want to help Al Qaida now? 4: would the Tea Party be happy if Obama put his stimulus spending "off-budget" like the republican congress did with the war spending? Where was the outrage and concern over the next generation then? (see note above about "traitors" voicing concern) Stop being sheep. It is not the president job to find you or your kids a job. If you want to get rid of our debt, git your butt out and create jobs that will produce revenue and bring down our trade imbalance. What can you do for your country? Whining is not "doing". Calling President Obama a "Marxist" is not helping our country any more than calling Bush a Nazi did.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 8:44 a.m.

This is great, We should have "May Day" parade just like they do in other parts of the world on May 1st! The perfect speaker on the perfect day at the perfect school.

Top Cat

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 8:06 a.m.

Perhaps President Oborrow can explain to the graduates the legacy of all the debt he is leaving to them.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 8:06 a.m.

This is very exciting. It's good for U of M and good for Ann Arbor.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 7:43 a.m.

Will Owebama allow the commencement to be on C-span?


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 7:27 a.m.

Hooray for Michigan!! It's an honor to have President Obama here. I'm thrilled!


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 7:09 a.m.

He does give a great speech. That's about it.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 3:38 a.m.

@Engineer, I am really ashamed that you disrespect our University by suggesting that awarding an honorary degree to the President of the United States "cheapens" our degrees. Having the President give my commencement address is a huge honor for my fellow graduates and I, and it is ludicrous to suggest that ANY President is not worthy of an honorary degree from Michigan or any college, better or worse. We're not talking about a controversial cabinet appointee, this is the President. Be proud of your alma mater like I plan to be on May 1.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 3:07 a.m.

@Blaine Colemen, please remember, Obama inherited these two wars. They were started by your former president.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 2:50 a.m.

@Blaine Colemen, please remember, Obama inherited these two wars. They begun by your former president.


Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 12:35 a.m.

[My remarks, which appeared here ever so briefly, were removed with no explanation when I pointed out that another poster uses his avatar to sneak in his actual message even in this rare instance of him sort of sticking to the topic (in the text part, anyway). A little unfair when one considers that totally unrelated notes about Knight's and other A2 restaurants are still up. Anyway, as the following portions of my message _are_ on-topic as they relate specifically to a factual error in the article itself, I hope they will at least stay up, blog editors! In the penultimate sentence of the article above (last paragraph), Ms. Keeping writes: "U-M alumnus Gerald R. Ford launched his re-election campaign at the university in September 1976." As Gerald Ford had never been elected to the office of US president--he was selected by Richard Nixon to be vice-president with the approval of the US Senate to replace the disgraced Spiro Agnew who was forced to resign from the vice-presidency in October 1973 for having accepted bribes while in office--he could not have been running for re-election. When Nixon also had to resign in disgrace ten months later because of the Watergate scandal and cover-up, then (appointed) VP Ford became president. One cannot run for re-election when one was never elected in the first place. He was, however, running in 1976 to try to hold on to the position that he had inherited due to Nixon's resignation. He never was elected president as Jimmy Carter defeated him at the polls in November 1976. And, as for President Obama speaking at commencement, I thinks that's great!

Inspector 57

Fri, Feb 12, 2010 : 12:18 a.m.

What a publicity coup for the UM, whose minority enrollment has plummeted ever since the people of Michigan voted to disallow reverse discrimination in university admissions. Perhaps having hosted Obama -- combined with a few cheeky little hopefully-under-the-radar tweeks to its admissions system -- will allow UM to attract more of the not-quite-literate DPS grads who would have otherwise attended Wayne State. YAY for academic excellence! HAIL to the Victors Valliant!


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 11:58 p.m.

My husband graduates May first. We're very excited to have Obama speak at the commencement ceremony, as we would be to listen to what any president has to say; however, I hope that Obama's presence doesn't overshadow the true spirit of the day, which should focus on the students' achievements. Family tickets aren't available until April 26th, and while it would be fantastic to think that allowing the public to attend would result in a peaceful, respectful ceremony, I have a feeling that's a Utopian notion. Even with just families present, I'm sure there will be signs and protests aplenty. No matter what our politics, we can all understand that a graduation celebration is not the place to fan political flames. Outside the ceremony, I say it's no holds barred. But inside, please keep it civil. The only yelling that should be going on is for the students as they pick up those diplomas! I should note that I'd be saying the same thing if it were Bush, not Obama coming to town---and probably more vehemently so in that case.

Wystan Stevens

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 11:30 p.m.

Of course, Gerald Ford is also a former U. S. President who delivered the U-M commencement address. However, when he spoke, at the 1974 commencement, Ford was still Vice President -- not yet the sitting President of the United States.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 11:27 p.m.

While an honor to have the President at commencements, it should ONLY be for grads and their families. We should not lose sight he is there to honor the grads, not provide a public speech to the citizens of Ann Arbor/the area. People should not forget the graduates are being honored here, and should not be overshadowed by random people coming to their graduation solely because of the President. He is only there to honor the class of 2010.

Wystan Stevens

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 10:48 p.m.

How quickly they forget! William Howard Taft was the sitting President of the United States when he visited Ann Arbor in 1910. Taft took dinner with U-M President Harry Burns Hutchins at Hutchins' home (which stood on the corner of Monroe Street and Packard, across from where South Quad is now) then went up to campus and delivered a speech, in the auditorium of University Hall.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 10:46 p.m.

@eyehearta2. Knights has smokers around the bar. It's my favorite restrurant, I can't stand smoke, but I never notice it. Yeah, the 70's vibe, love it, I've been going since I was 5 and I love that it hasn't changed much. You see the same people all the time and the place is always packed. Best in A2


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 10:33 p.m.

Wonder if he will tell the truth how the grads with good jobs now can paqy the bills he has ran up spending like no other. I am sure he will put some liberal spin on it and many will be fooled. As an alumnus I am sad that they would give him a Michigan degree. Kind of cheapens the rest of our degrees and rewards the wrong behavior. Hopefully Mass was a sign of things to come and soon we can move on to someone more in touch with the american people and not trying to force their liberal policies on us.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 10:23 p.m.

maybe he can list all his campaign promises and then explain why he is breaking them, like todays "agnostic about raising taxes" get ready middle class, gotta pay for all this "stimulus" somehow....

David Briegel

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 10:16 p.m.

Mainstreet Ventures Krazy Jims Tios Jerusalem Garden Le Dog The former Pfizer building The Museum of Art The Michigan Theater The Ark Matthei Botanical Gardens The Veterans Hospital The old Ann Arbor News Bldg A smoke free Knights Steakhouse He can celebrate the Communist Holiday, May Day and thumb his nose at the idiots that think he's a socialist

Ryan Munson

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 10:14 p.m.

I'll be in Illinois for a race and I'm going to be here Sunday...!!!


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 10:07 p.m.

Hey Moose, I heard the bridges have been deemed too dangerous by secret service


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 9:51 p.m.

I agree with MJC. It is exciting for the University. It is also exciting for Ann Arbor and Michigan. I hope it brings some positivity to/about this state's other issues. YAY Ann Arbor Spark, local businesses, local banks, all those innovative scientists working on those opportunities for the economy, students, teachers, etc. One item I have issue with in the article from Brady Smith - actually I feel that Obama sent a message of integrity for NOT putting his name on the ballot because that is what the candidates agreed to because of Michigan's decision to move up the primary.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 8:59 p.m.

Stephanie, my bad. I guess I'm irritated at the mayor and ready to pounce!


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 7:39 p.m.

Never mind. Found the answer. It's TBD: And this story is 90 percent sans platitudes and BS to boot!


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 7:35 p.m.

Maybe I missed it, but can the public get tickets?


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 7:27 p.m.

Why would he need a teleprompter at a University Commencement speech?


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 7:20 p.m.

Free business idea: someone please make up about 5,000 Asian Carp mortarboards for people to wear at the ceremony.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 7:20 p.m.

Nice story, but could the accompanying photo show some respect and not display our President's face through the shadow of a teleprompter?


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 7:13 p.m.

THE Michigan State University turned him down, I heard. Get over it!

Grand Marquis de Sade

Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 6:55 p.m.

I can't imagine a more apporopriate photograph. We've only ever heard this man through a teleprompter.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 6:52 p.m.

How exciting for any University to be honored by the President of the United States coming in as a commencement speaker! This is great news!!


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 6:41 p.m.

Happy to hear the good news!


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 6:41 p.m.

I remember President Johnson delivering the commencement address in the mid 60's. This was held at the Michigan Stadium.I was in elementary school.The public could attend then.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 6:40 p.m.

Oh, and nice of the mayor to make sure to get his two cents in on this.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 6:31 p.m.

Wow, that's great.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 6:27 p.m.

That's aweome for the grads. A horrible picture though.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 6:25 p.m.

This should be interesting. Nice to have him here just wish all of us could go see him speak and not just the grads and their families. I'm sure Ann Arbor will be on lock down for this day.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 6:24 p.m.

I hope the presidential motorcade travels over the Stadium bridges so he can see how local Democrats are ignoring their responsibilities.


Thu, Feb 11, 2010 : 6:19 p.m.

This should be interesting. Nice to have him here just wish all of us could go see him speak and not just the grads and their families. I'm sure Ann Arbor will be on lock down for this day.