Statement on 2009 Commencement Speaker
“Presidents from both parties have come to Notre Dame for decades to speak to our graduates – and to our nation and world – about a wide range of pressing issues – from foreign policy to poverty, from societal transformation to social service. We are delighted that President Obama will follow in this long tradition of speaking from Notre Dame on issues of substance and significance.
We will honor Mr. Obama as an inspiring leader who faces many challenges – the economy, two wars, and health care, immigration and education reform – and is addressing them with intelligence, courage and honesty. It is of special significance that we will hear from our first African-American president, a person who has spoken eloquently and movingly about race in this nation. Racial prejudice has been a deep wound in America, and Mr. Obama has been a healer.
Of course, this does not mean we support all of his positions. The invitation to President Obama to be our Commencement speaker should not be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of human life, including abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Yet, we see his visit as a basis for further positive engagement."