Students excited about Obama’s visit to Corvallis
Students are buzzing about the first lady speaking at commencement this June
Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 24, 2012 20:07
Much hype has surrounded first lady Michelle Obama’s visit to Corvallis for commencement.
But for some, switching the day of graduation from Saturday to Sunday may have led to encountered hardship.
While some people had difficulty adjusting to the schedule, the Oregon State University administration is positive about the outcome and has been working with OSU students who have had issues with the date change and other arrangement matters.
“We’re working with the students and families that have had difficulties with the date change. Our top priority is accommodating and focusing the attention on the graduating seniors,” said Steven J. Clark, vice president of university relations and marketing.
Clark is expecting 35,000 to 38,000 attendees this year, which is easily twice as many as last year. There will be designated areas for media, and there will also be several areas reserved for the Secret Service.
To accommodate this many people, all of Reser Stadium will be opened up, whereas only a portion of it is normally used for commencement. Clark says that both staff and students are equally excited.
“People are going to say ‘It’s cool. The first lady spoke at my commencement,’” Clark said, referring to how many of the graduating seniors would feel.
While some have addressed concerns of this being too political, Clark insists that with the connections Michelle Obama has at OSU, as well as the ‘One Health’ plan, Clark is certain that appropriate attention will be on the graduates.
“The first lady’s plan and goal is to improve the nation’s health and reduce childhood obesity. The OSU Colleges of Pharmacy, General Science, Public Health and Vet School are part of that initiative,” Clark said.
With the mutual alliance in building stronger and healthier communities, OSU President Ed Ray asked the first lady back in March to be the speaker.
But how do graduating seniors actually feel about Michelle Obama speaking? Are they for or against it? Do they feel the attention will be on them?
“I think it’s pretty cool that the first lady is coming to speak. I mean, some people are annoyed about it, but there’s a lot more excitement than usual. And yeah, I think the attention will still be on the students. Michelle Obama’s just giving a commencement speech, like any other graduation speaker,” said Walter Piper, a first-year graduate student in psychology.
Piper’s younger brother is graduating this year, and doesn’t feel pushed aside either. But it’s not just the OSU students who are excited, it’s got local Corvallis high school Crescent Valley excited too.
“I think it is exciting that Michelle Obama is coming to Oregon State because she is a major role model for women around the world and she is a prominent political figure,” said Natasha Bogdanovic, Crescent Valley High School, 11th grade.
“This makes me look forward to my graduation because I hope to one day have a speaker as influential and amazing as Michelle Obama,” said Bogdanovic.
Amanda Antell, reporter
On Twitter: @AmandaA94877032