It is not every day that a sitting president speaks at a college graduation, and some of this year's Barnard College graduates shared their thoughts Monday about a ceremony they would never forget. NY1's Roger Clark filed the following report.
Barnard College graduates were lined up hours before their Monday graduation was set to begin in Morningside Heights, and the anticipation was high for President Barack Obama's commencement speech.
"Hey, I get the president at my graduation and I'm graduating college. I have all the reasons in the world to be happy," said a graduate.
"It's wonderful, It's an honor, I'm glad that he's here," said another.
"We never expected he would ask us to speak at our graduation. I'm so grateful," said a third.
The graduating students had to arrive extra early to get through security and some said it was a pain in the neck, but worth the wait.
"Yeah, sacrifices you make for something like the president speaking at your graduation," said one waiting graduate.
Afterwards, the new graduates who chatted with NY1 had rave reviews of the president's address.
"I thought that the words were very important for us to consider going on into the world forward," said a graduate.
"It was about really broad, really important political issues, but it was also very personal and about the graduates in celebrating our day and our accomplishments. So I thought it was a perfect balance," said a second.
"It really felt like it came from the heart, and you know that's what we want, true genuine advice," said a third. I don't know, I thought he was really great."
Some graduates who spoke with NY1 said they were happy that the president stressed the role of women in his life in inspiring him to reach his goals.
"He talked about his mother and his grandmother and his wife and his daughters, which was very personal but also like very relevant. I though that was nice, not so political but personal," said a graduate.
Perhaps one of the most excited people on hand was graduate Britney Wilson, who managed to hug the president of the United States not once, but twice.
"I've been saying I was going to hug the president and all my friends said the Secret Service is going to shoot me if I hugged him, and I said I'm going to do it anyway, so I did it," she said.
Britney said the president is a great hugger.