Michelle Obama Coming to Merced

Merced, CA "Dear Michelle" is how UC Merced students began their letter writing campaign. The goal: get Michelle Obama to speak at their commencement ceremony. The effort also spread to YouTube. UC Merced Senior Chris Abresce said, "We made the YouTube video to try to outreach to the First Lady Michelle Obama." Abresce is shocked and excited that they succeeded.

Students mailed more than a thousand invitations to the First Lady. Friday morning, she officially agreed to speak to UC Merced's first full graduating class. At first, the university planned to hold the commencement ceremony in the quad between the science building and the library. But with the First Lady coming to campus, the grassy area is obviously too small.

University Spokesperson Patti Istas says they now need a larger venue. They planned for 3,200 people to attend. That number could reach more than 12,000. Istas said, "It got now ramped up, considering the First Lady is coming to campus, so we need to talk with the White House about security, how we handle the media and how accessible this event will be to the public."

Senior Jackie Shay hopes Michelle's visit inspires graduates into action. Shay said, "I hope to hear what she has to say about the environment. The school is very focused on environmentally friendly issues and sustainability."

Students are on spring break. When they return Monday, the excitement will only spread.

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