Michelle Obama to Speak at UC-Merced

Students sent 900 valentines to White House, asking Obama to speak at their commencement. It worked.

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After mounting an aggressive Facebook campaign and sending 900 handwritten valentines to the White House, the University of California-Merced will welcome Michelle Obama as its commencement speaker on May 16, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

UC-Merced is hosting its first commencement for the 400 students who have been there for the full four years of the school's existence. "The first lady is looking forward to speaking to the students who worked so hard to achieve this important milestone," said Obama's deputy press secretary. "We were touched by their 'Dear Michelle' campaign. It was very sweet. It was really the students who convinced us."

This will be the first lady's only college commencement address this year.

Merced sits in one of the poorest areas of California, a point that makes the Obama event particularly momentous. "I told her how meaningful this was for San Joaquin Valley and the students of Merced," said one student. "This is an underserved region, and people need hope."