President Obama returns to Ohio State for graduation
May 4th, 2013
03:46 PM ET
10 years ago

President Obama returns to Ohio State for graduation

Columbus, Ohio (CNN) - A year ago Sunday, President Barack Obama went to the heart of the key battleground state of Ohio to officially kick off his re-election campaign with a rally at The Ohio State University.

On the anniversary of that speech, the president returns to the Ohio State campus, this time to deliver the commencement address at the university's spring graduation.

It will be the first of three commencements Obama will attend this graduation season. He will also speak at Morehouse College in Atlanta on May 19, and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, on May 24.

The kickoff rally a year ago for Obama was held in Value City Arena, before a crowd that didn't fill all the seats. A far larger crowd is expected Sunday at Ohio Stadium, a short distance away across the Olentangy River.

A crowd of between 60,000 and 70,000 is expected for the graduation, mostly family and friends of the graduating class. More than 10,000 Buckeye seniors get their diplomas, though not all will attend the ceremony.

With extra security in place because of Obama's visit, families are being asked to arrive by 7:30 a.m., more than four hours before Pomp and Circumstance will play as the graduates enter the stadium.

The green field inside the football stadium has been replaced by a white tarp, and nearly the entire field is filled with black chairs.

The quick trip to Columbus comes a day after the president returned to the United States from his visit to Mexico and Costa Rica.

Columbus, and particularly Ohio State, were frequent destinations for Obama during his campaign. This will be his fifth trip to the OSU campus alone in the past 16 months.

He is the third sitting U.S. president to address The Ohio State University's commencement, and the second to do it inside the historic stadium.
Gerald Ford spoke August 30, 1974, in St. John Arena across the street. George W. Bush spoke inside the stadium, nicknamed the Horseshoe, on June 14, 2002.

Some political rivals who have preceded the president to the stage in Columbus include House Speaker John Boehner, an Ohio Republican, who was the commencement speaker at the stadium two years ago. Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, spoke at the 2006 spring commencement, two years before he faced Obama in the presidential election.

At the end of the ceremony, an honorary doctorate will be conferred on the president. Also receiving an honorary degree will be celebrity photographer Annie Leibovitz. She shot the official Obama family portrait in 2010 and the Vanity Fair cover photos of Obama in 2007 and 2009.

Filed under: 2013 • Ohio • President Obama
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Gurgyl

    Very smart president. Look at stocks. We are capitalistic nation–it proves. We need to watch Euro.

    May 4, 2013 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. love@tiscali

    lucky peeps

    May 4, 2013 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  3. Name lynn

    Thats right president obama go where you are wanted, go to those graduation you go where other president not wanted, you are a good president keep up the good work.

    May 4, 2013 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  4. Jerry

    go blue...beat osu!

    May 4, 2013 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  5. Jean2

    Please Mr. Obaba do not mess this bill up!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 4, 2013 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  6. jpmichigan

    My question is, what will you tell the graduating class as too where the jobs are. They all can't work for the government, or can they.

    May 5, 2013 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  7. Catmandew

    Mr.President where are the jobs for these graduates? I hope you are gonna hire them all. Or at least line up jobs for them! Your recovery is not creating enough jobs for our graduates alone let alone the rest of the unemployed numbering in the millions. You really need to get your but back to DC and start doin your job! Or are you gonna lead by example and show these grads how to do absolutely nothing and get paid for it. Did you set up welfare lines so they could graduate and sign up for welfare all in one afternoon?!

    May 5, 2013 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  8. g

    want to know where the jobs are ask the CEO,S at place like wal-mart and american car companies,apple -microsoft and the list goes on.they know where thw jobs are.long before obama took office

    May 5, 2013 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |