Orange County News
UC Irvine asking President Barack Obama to speak at graduation
IRVINE, Calif. (KABC) -- The University of California, Irvine is hoping to entice President Barack Obama to give the school's 2014 commencement address.
The letter-writing campaign started early in the school year at UC Irvine.
"We've had students support that campaign by filling out what we hope will be close to 10,000 postcards inviting the president to come," said Dr. Thomas Parham, UC Irvine's vice chancellor for student affairs.
The president receives hundreds of requests to speak, but UC Irvine is doing what it can, not just with postcards, but also a special video featuring the men's basketball team and its very tall center, Mamadou Ndiaye.
"At the end of the video, there's our tallest UCI basketball player, who is a center, 7-foot-6 Mamadou, inviting President Obama to a one-on-one pickup game," said Wilbert Cheng, who created the video.
If that's not enough, the postcards and video are being personally delivered to the capitol by the vice chancellor for student affairs, who references the past to encourage the president to say yes.
"Fifty years ago, President [Lyndon B.] Johnson flew Marine One, landed in these fields here to dedicate the campus. It would be an interesting fulfillment of that circle and that legacy to have the sitting president come in and complete that circle 50 years later," said Parham.
The vice-chancellor says with or without the president, the 50th anniversary commencement will go ahead. They're looking at a larger venue, possibly Angel Stadium.
"We just needed a bigger venue to be able to accommodate the 40,000 people we think will want to come to both participate in the 50th anniversary as well as to hear whoever the speaker is, whether it's the president or not," said Parham.
president barack obama, orange county news, eileen frere
- Malaysian PM: Jet's disappearance deliberate
- Body found at Anaheim trash recycling center
- 4 kids abducted by parents in Boyle Heights
- Brush fire burns near Gorman by Quail Lake
- OC 'flasher' suspect captured in San Diego
- Pinkberry co-founder sentenced in 2011 beating
- Fatal 210 shooting likely sparked by road rage
- Man who hoarded snakes in OC home charged
- Pistorius photographed in bloodied prosthetics
- abcnews: Baby girl with 2 heads born in India
- Crimea vote won't be recognized by US - Kerry
- Baby gorilla born through rare C-section
- Sailor in iconic WWII kissing photo dies
- OTRC: 'Scandal' recap - 5 highlights (Spoilers)