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Michelle Obama told graduates of the “poor man’s Harvard” that living without privilege is an advantage

First Lady Michelle Obama speaks to members of the class of 2016 in her final commencement speech as first lady, Friday June 3, 2016, during commencement at CCNY in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
By Adam Freelander
Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

In her last commencement address as US first lady, Michelle Obama spoke to the graduates of the City College of New York, telling them they needed to flip the way they think about privilege and disadvantage.

More than 40% of the students attending CCNY—once nicknamed the “poor man’s Harvard”—are first-generation college students, and half are from low-income households. In front of this diverse, immigrant-heavy class, Obama made the case that growing up without privilege conferred an advantage on them that rich kids don’t have: The perspective to know that “life will put many obstacles in your path that are far worse than a bad grade.”

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