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Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                              June 12, 2012


The Franklin Institute
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

5:50 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody!  (Applause.)  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Everybody, have a seat.  Have a seat.  Well, this is so exciting to have a chance to see all of you.  Congratulations on your graduation.  (Applause.)  I know I kind of messed up graduation a little bit, but it turned out that it was beautiful yesterday.  So we had this all planned out.  (Laughter.)  We knew there was going to be sun yesterday; it’s a little cloudier today.  We wanted to make sure you guys looked good in your caps and gowns and didn’t get too wet.

     Listen, I just want to say to all of you how incredibly proud I am of the work that you guys have accomplished, because some of you may have heard -- in between studying you may have listened to a speech that I’ve given or remarks that I’ve made in the past -- the nation that excels in science and math and technology, that’s going to be the nation that rises to the top in the 21st century.  Almost everything we do is based on our capacity to innovate.  And America became a economic superpower because we were constantly able to tap into the incredible talents and ingenuity of young people like you who decided -- why can't we fly?  Why can't we cure diseases?  Why can’t we make sure that the energy that we use is able to make life a little bit better and a little bit easier for people?

     And so throughout our history we’ve constantly had innovators who have been able to not only excel in basic science and basic research, but have then been able to translate it into practical things that we now take for granted.  And obviously, there was a pretty good scientist here in Philadelphia named Benjamin Franklin, who was able to tool around with kites and keys and all kinds of stuff before he helped to write our Constitution.  So you’ve got a pretty good legacy, here in Philadelphia, of innovation.

     And the fact that, as I look around this auditorium, we are tapping into the talents of everybody -- women as well as men; folks from every ethnic group, every background -- that’s also this incredible strength for the United States, because innovation, brainpower does not discriminate by gender or race or faith or background.  Everybody has got the capacity to create and improve our lives in so many ways.

     So you guys are representative of the future.  This is a great postcard for what America is all about.  And as you take your next steps -- I’m assuming that everybody here is going to some sort of post-high school education, everybody here is going to be going to college, and some of you are going to continue beyond college -- I just want you to know that you are going to be succeeding not just for yourself -- and that’s important -- your parents are going to want you to have a job, so they’re very pleased about the fact that you’re taking a path that is almost assured to provide you with extraordinary opportunities in the future -- but you’re also going to be making a difference for the country as a whole.

     So my expectation is, is that somebody in this auditorium is going to figure out new sources of energy that help not only make us more energy independent, but also deals with problems like climate change.  There is somebody in this room who’s going to help make sure that we are defeating diseases like Alzheimer’s or cancer.  There is somebody in this room who is going to help revolutionize our agricultural sector, or our transportation sectors, or will invent some entire new industry that we don’t even know about yet.

     And the pace of change these days is so rapid -- I’m reminded when I talk to Malia and Sasha that when Sasha was born, most people weren’t on the Internet and now she knows more about it than I do.  (Laughter.)  And so, in many ways, your youth and the fact that you’ve come of age in this new information age gives you an enormous advantage over old fogies like us.

     So the bottom line is, we’re proud of you.  You are going to succeed.  You’re well on your way.  The last thing I’d ask of you, even as you focus on your chosen field and you are moving forward, is to make sure that you also give back, that for a lot of you in your neighborhoods there may not be as many kids who are interested in math and science.  And you need to make sure that wherever you have the opportunity, you’re mentoring and serving as a good role model to the next generation coming up behind you.

     For the women who are here, a lot of you know that historically we haven’t had as many women in math and science and engineering fields.  So as you succeed, hopefully you’re going to go back and mentor some people, and encourage them to get involved in these fields as well.  If you do that then I have extraordinary optimism for the future.  And I think that not only will you succeed, but you’re going to help your country succeed as well.

     So thank you very much, everybody.  Appreciate you.  Thank you.  (Applause.)

                                                END                5:57 P.M. EDT

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Comment Preferences

  •  Unless schools stop teaching to the test which (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    arealniceguy, Larsstephens, Stwriley

    stifles creativity and unless Congress increases research funds by three times none of this good stuff is going to happen. As long as education is increasingly controlled by conservative politicians and business people, none of this good stuff is going to happen. As long as the media treats creationists and man made  climate change deniers as anything but bizarre freaks, none of this good stuff is going to happen.

    I'd tip you but they cut off my tip box.

    by OHdog on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 06:26:59 PM PDT

  •  i liked how he mentioned (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Larsstephens, Lawrence, Stwriley

    That part of success was to mentor.

    Constitutions should consist only of general provisions; the reason is that they must necessarily be permanent, and that they cannot calculate for the possible change of things. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) Just A Real Nice Guy, thinking out loud.

    by arealniceguy on Tue Jun 12, 2012 at 07:50:17 PM PDT

  •  Appreciation of, and funding for, scientific (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    research is a big reason for my support for Barack Obama and the Democratic Party.

    Scientific and medical advances are coming so fast and heavy now that I often can't keep up.... I'd hate to see Republicans given more opportunity to slow scientific advances down.

    Tipped and recced.

    "A candle loses nothing by lighting another candle" - Mohammed Nabbous, R.I.P.

    by Lawrence on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 03:19:39 AM PDT

  •  And this is a public school... (0+ / 0-)

    not a charter or a privately-run pseudo-public school. It has some of my union brethren here in Philly as its teaching staff. It also gets a hefty chunk of change from outside sources to pump up the resources that it can offer students.

    I'm glad the President chose this school in my district; it shows exactly what public education could be if we actually spent the money on it that we should and moved away from "teaching to the test". This is a school that uses the project- and inquiry-based learning that does so well in the sciences (and many other subjects as well) but that can so seldom be applied in most public schools due to the demands of mandated curriculum and high-stakes testing. Couple public schools like this one with real efforts to alleviate childhood poverty and we'd have the best education system in the world.

    Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory, tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat. Sun Tzu The Art of War

    by Stwriley on Wed Jun 13, 2012 at 06:05:23 AM PDT

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