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Miss JSU Greets First Lady Michelle Obama at JSU's Spring Commencement

Pictured (L to R):  Student Leader Charence Higgins (Miss JSU 2015-2016), First Lady Michelle Obama, Rashad Moore (Student Government Association President 2015-2016)

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

First Lady Michelle Obama delivered Jackson State University's 139th Spring Commencement Ceremony address Saturday at Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Mrs. Obama was presented with an honorary doctorate, from Jackson State President Dr. Carolyn Meyers.

And after thanking Dr. Meyers she said,"Hey y'all! This is great. I'm a Tiger now!"

She began her 30 minute speech by congratulating the graduates and referring to them as the 'Superb Sixteen', as they are the graduates of 2016.

She said high school graduation rates are the highest on record over the past seven years.

She talked about the state's segregationist history and invoked Dr. Martin Luther King by saying, "Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that..."

"Yes, we continue to make progress in America, but we also know the shadows of the past remain," she added.

"We simply do not allow space in our minds, hearts or souls for darkness. Instead, we allow faith," Ms. Obama said.

First Lady Obama said to the graduates, "...devote your life to making things better for those who will come after you.”

Mrs. Obama also referred to HB 1523 and said, "We saw it two weeks ago, how fast progress can roll backwards

"Every single stride we have ever taken in this country – it all started with the ballot. If we fail to exercise our fundamental right to much of the progress we’ve fought for will be under threat," Mrs. Obama added.

"We’ve got to stand side by side with all of our neighbors – straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. The march for civil rights isn’t just about African-Americans…it’s about all Americans," she said.

In closing Mrs. Obama challenged the graduates to 'honor the legacy of our past by making your mark on the future'.

"If you choose faith and love –if you strive for dignity and excellence, then there is nothing you can’t achieve," she added.

Copyright 2016 MSNewsNow. All rights reserved.

*Charence Higgins was one of only 2 students able to meet the First Lady.

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