First Lady Jill Biden speaks at the 2024 Mesa Community College graduation ceremony at Desert Financial Arena on May 11, 2024 (Photo by Diego Esquivel/The Mesa Legend)

Jill Biden speaks at Mesa Community College graduation

First Lady Jill Biden was the keynote speaker at the Mesa Community College graduation commencement ceremony at Desert Financial Arena on May 11.

“You shouldn’t go to college. That’s what my high school guidance counselor told me. I was crushed. Well, I got my college degree. In fact, I got three more degrees,” said Biden to begin her address. 

Biden congratulated students who had faced adversity during their education and were able to make it to graduation.

“I got two masters and a doctorate while raising three children, going to school at night and working full time,” said Biden.

First Lady Jill Biden speaks at the 2024 Mesa Community College graduation ceremony at Desert Financial Arena on May 11, 2024 (Photo by Diego Esquivel/The Mesa Legend)

540 students participated in the graduation ceremony, according to a press release by the college

“On behalf of President Biden, Vice President Harris and [the] Second Gentleman, congratulations class of 2024,” said Biden.

Many of the students stood when asked to show if they had worked full time, raised children or were the first to graduate from college in their family, a goal of the Mesa College Promise.

Biden had previously visited the campus in 2023 to endorse the Mesa College Promise, a scholarship program in partnership with the city of Mesa to get high school students access to a college education.

Mesa College Promise offers two years of paid tuition and individual academic advising for those who qualify, according to the college’s website.

The scholarship program recently expanded their qualifications to now include adults who also meet the other requirements. 

Both the First Lady and President Biden have been strong proponents of community colleges, praising their ability to fit into people’s lifestyles while continuing to offer a quality education.

“Community Colleges in America should be free,” said Biden to a roar of cheers.

Biden addressed the faculty in attendance as her colleagues, as Biden still teaches at Northern Virginia Community College.

Biden also offered advice to the new group of MCC graduates ready to take on the next challenge.

“Sometimes the voices that say you can’t come from inside ourselves. Drown out those voices. Remember what you’ve already done. Never underestimate the magnitude of that accomplishment,” said  Biden.

Biden’s final words to the students and attendees suggested hope in the face of adversity.

“Never forget your strength and resilience. Class of 2024, you are brave and fierce. And the next time someone tells you that you can’t? You’re going to tell them ‘Oh yea? Watch me’,” said Biden, closing her speech and leaving the students to the rest of the graduation ceremony.

  • Adam Terro

    Adam Terro is the Sports Editor for the Mesa Legend. He joined the staff in January 2021 and first published with the Legend in fall 2020. His passion is for sports, specifically football and basketball.

    View all posts

Welcome to the Mesa Legend! Subscribe to know more about what goes on at Mesa Community College!