First Lady Gives Merced National Spotlight

First Lady Urges Students to Give Back

The normally quiet town of Merced became one of the places to be this weekend.

While Sonoma State is celebrating the arrival of Henry Rollins, UC Merced is getting national coverage for scoring one of the biggest commencement speakers around.

First Lady Michelle Obama addressed the graduates this afternoon. 

First lady Michelle Obama urged jubilant graduates at a rural California university to give back to their communities.

Obama made her debut as a commencement speaker to the first full senior class at the University of California, Merced. It is the newest and smallest school in the state's public system of universities.

Obama said particularly in this time of economic distress, communities need people to help out by starting after-school programs to help students succeed or work to reduce pollution and help the environment.

Obama also urged graduates to remember they are blessed. She says they should make their legacy a lasting one by giving something back.

UC Merced students ask Mrs. Obama to visit

"For the campus, for the city of Merced, for the region, this is one of the most positive things that has happened in a long time," UC Merced spokeswoman PattiWaig Istas told the Los Angeles Times.

How did the small school draw such a big name? They just asked.

The state's newest university has 500 graduates who enticed Obama in a letter-writing and Facebook campaign called "Dear Michelle" to come to the school. 

The students created a template for students to follow and also a YouTube video that caught the first lady's eye.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us