Double the usual number of people -- close to 35,000 -- have tickets to Oregon State University's graduation on Sunday. Likely, that's because the commencement speaker is Michelle Obama. OSU even moved its graduation ceremony from Saturday to Sunday to accommodate the First Lady’s schedule.
OSU chief spokesman Steve Clark says Obama is the highest-profile commencement speaker in the state’s history. He says her focus on exercise, gardening and health conveniently dovetails with the university’s mission.
Clark said, "She’s coming because Oregon State, and its 'One Health' initiative are all about making America and the world a more healthy place. If Craig Robinson wasn’t here, it’d be a little tougher ask. The fact that he is our head men’s basketball coach, we had that personal connection. I also think that he told his sister that, 'Hey, this is somewhere that you want to be, and here’s why. And she said, 'You’re right.'"
The First Lady flies into Eugene just before graduation. The Secret Service will then escort her to the OSU campus to briefly meet with big donors and other dignitaries just before her speech. All graduation tickets are spoken for, but the ceremony will be live-streamed through OSU's website.