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Which US presidents went back to high school ... for commencement?

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At many high school graduations this spring, principals will stand on stage, look upon the proud/eager/bored faces of students and parents, and think the same thing.

“Why couldn’t we get President Obama to talk,” they’ll fume, as some hapless LIP (Local Important Person) puts the audience to sleep.

Yes, Kalamazoo Central High School landed Mr. Obama as its commencement speaker this year. It won an academic self-promotion contest run by the Department of Education.

The administration says this will be an annual thing, so there’s always next year for you runners-up. But in general, presidents give graduation talks at high schools about as often as they sign bipartisan social legislation into law. Which is to say, rarely.

Colleges? That’s another story. Typically, presidents will address the graduating class of a military service academy, plus one or two others. Notre Dame alone has had six US presidents as speakers, including Obama on May 17 last year.

Even First Ladies get in on the action. Michelle Obama delivers the commencement address at George Washington University Sunday.


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