US President Barack Obama greets graduate students after delivering the commencement address during the Arizona State University graduation ceremony at Sun Devil Stadium May 13, 2009 in Tempe, Arizona. Over 65,000 people attended the graduation. (Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)more pics »President Barack Obama delivered the keynote commencement address Wednesday at Arizona State University after the college decided against bestowing an honorary degree upon him.
And from the sounds of things, they better watch their backs.
Now before I begin, I'd just like to clear the air about that little controversy everyone was talking about a few weeks back. I have to tell you, I really thought this was much ado about nothing, but I do think we all learned an important lesson. I learned never again to pick another team over the Sun Devils in my NCAA brackets. It won't happen again. President Crow and the Board of Regents will soon learn about being audited by the IRS. After breaking the ice, the president talked about the importance of working hard and achieving a body of work you can be proud of. Oh and don't be like that guy Bernie Madoff.
The leaders we revere, the businesses that last - they are not the result of narrow pursuit of popularity or personal advancement, but of devotion to some bigger purpose - the preservation of the Union or the determination to lift a country out of depression; the creation of a quality product or a commitment to your customers, your workers, your shareholders and your community.
The trappings of success may be a by-product of this larger mission, but they can't be the central thing. Just ask Bernie Madoff. And, of course, the prez closed upbeat and inspirational. You can practically hear Journey's "Don't Stop Believin'" behind his closing remarks. (Which would actually be appropriate given Alice Cooper's performance preceding the president's address.)
I know starting your careers in troubled times is a challenge. But it is also a privilege.
Because it is moments like these that force us to try harder, to dig deeper, to discover gifts we never knew we had - to find the greatness that lies within each of us. So don't ever shy away from that endeavor. Don't ever stop adding to your body of work. I can promise that you will be the better for that continued effort, as will this nation that we all love.
Congratulations on your graduation, and Godspeed on the road ahead
Click Here for a full transcript of the president's commencement address
See the Daily Show's take on ASU's Obama snub