THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, congratulations, Class of 2009. (Applause.) Congratulations to all the parents, the cousins -- (applause) -- the aunts, the uncles -- all the people who helped to bring you to the point that you are here today. Thank you so much to Father Jenkins for that extraordinary introduction, even though you said what I want to say much more elegantly. (Laughter.) You are doing an extraordinary job as president of this extraordinary institution. (Applause.) Your continued and courageous -- and contagious -- commitment to honest, thoughtful dialogue is an inspiration to us all. (Applause.)
Good afternoon. To Father Hesburgh, to Notre Dame trustees, to faculty, to family: I am honored to be here today. (Applause.) And I am grateful to all of you for allowing me to be a part of your graduation.
I also want to congratulate the Class of 2009 for all your accomplishments. And since this is Notre Dame --
AUDIENCE MEMBER: Abortion is murder! Stop killing children!
THE PRESIDENT: That's all right. And since --
AUDIENCE: We are ND! We are ND!
AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can!
THE PRESIDENT: We're fine, everybody. We're following Brennan's adage that we don't do things easily. (Laughter.) We're not going to shy away from things that are uncomfortable sometimes. (Applause.)
Now, since this is Notre Dame I think we should talk not only about your accomplishments in the classroom, but also in the competitive arena. (Laughter.) No, don't worry, I'm not going to talk about that. (Laughter.) We all know about this university's proud and storied football team, but I also hear that Notre Dame holds the largest outdoor 5-on-5 basketball tournament in the world -- Bookstore Basketball. (Applause.)
Now this excites me. (Laughter.) I want to congratulate the winners of this year's tournament, a team by the name of "Hallelujah Holla Back." (Laughter and applause.) Congratulations. Well done. Though I have to say, I am personally disappointed that the "Barack O'Ballers" did not pull it out this year. (Laughter.) So next year, if you need a 6'2" forward with a decent jumper, you know where I live. (Laughter and applause.)
Every one of you should be proud of what you have achieved at this institution. One hundred and sixty-three classes of Notre Dame graduates have sat where you sit today. Some were here during years that simply rolled into the next without much notice or fanfare -- periods of relative peace and prosperity that required little by way of sacrifice or struggle.
You, however, are not getting off that easy. You have a different deal. Your class has come of age at a moment of great consequence for our nation and for the world -- a rare inflection point in history where the size and scope of the challenges before us require that we remake our world to renew its promise; that we align our deepest values and commitments to the demands of a new age. It's a privilege and a responsibility afforded to few generations -- and a task that you're now called to fulfill.
This generation, your generation is the one that must find a path back to prosperity and decide how we respond to a global economy that left millions behind even before the most recent crisis hit -- an economy where greed and short-term thinking were too often rewarded at the expense of fairness, and diligence, and an honest day's work. (Applause.)
Your generation must decide how to save God's creation from a changing climate that threatens to destroy it. Your generation must seek peace at a time when there are those who will stop at nothing to do us harm, and when weapons in the hands of a few can destroy the many. And we must find a way to reconcile our ever-shrinking world with its ever-growing diversity -- diversity of thought, diversity of culture, and diversity of belief.
In short, we must find a way to live together as one human family. (Applause.)
And it's this last challenge that I'd like to talk about today, despite the fact that Father John stole all my best lines. (Laughter.) For the major threats we face in the 21st century -- whether it's global recession or violent extremism; the spread of nuclear weapons or pandemic disease -- these things do not discriminate. They do not recognize borders. They do not see color. They do not target specific ethnic groups.
Moreover, no one person, or religion, or nation can meet these challenges alone. Our very survival has never required greater cooperation and greater understanding among all people from all places than at this moment in history.
White House transcript
Transcript: Obama's Notre Dame speech
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