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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer praised University of Michigan graduates as among the "best educated" generation which will do better by "simply doing GOOD" and encouraged them to make the world a better place.

Whitmer spoke to the hundreds of graduates gathered for the University of Michigan Spring commencement ceremonies at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor and urged them to strive to "fight injustice, fight intolerance, fight indifference."

Whitmer, a Michigan State University graduate, also told the graduates that their generation and the others that follow will be "the engine that drives a course correction for our country and the world."

 "I'm expecting a lot out of you, "Whitmer told the graduates in her speech. "It will take hard work."

Whitmer, who was elected to office in November, taught at the University of Michigan's Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy four years ago.  

University of Michigan president Mark Schlissel also addressed graduates during the commencement ceremonies, which began at 10 a.m. Saturday and ended around 11:45 a.m.

Schlissel told the graduates the changes they have seen on campus and around the world provide "a road map that can serve as a guide to the changes you can create in society. Your time at Michigan has provided a wonderful proving ground to develop your ability to create change."

Schlissel added: "Class of 2019, our society is yours to change. Seek out new evidence, develop new methods, and consider many points of view. And choose the path that will make ours a better world."

Several graduates from various majors and school at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor campus spoke during the graduation ceremony including Yvonne Navarrete, a graduating senior from the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy.

Navarrete, who said she was an undocumented student from Detroit, praised the school during her speech, saying she came to the university "scared" but as she traveled across the country as a scholar and student leader advocating for immigrants rights and "working to empower others" it changed her.

"I am undocumented and unafraid," Navarrete said.

Also at the commencement ceremonies, veteran Hollywood actress Leslie Uggams, who played in the ground-breaking television mini-series "Roots" was bestowed with an Honorary Doctorate degree along with Whitmer; Randy W. Schekman, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor of cell and developmental biology at the University of California, Berkeley; and internationally renowned sculptor and peace activist Mark di Suvero.

bwilliams@detroitnews.com

(313) 222-2027

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