CORVALLIS, Ore. - Michelle Obama explained how she found herself in front of over 30,000 people at Reser Stadium on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
"Your basketball coach is my brother, and he said if I didn't speak at this year's commencement he was going to tell mom on me," the first lady told the class of 2012.
She joked that her brother Craig Robinson had turned the first family into Beaver Believers - and saw something familiar in the Corvallis and Oregon State community.
"I can see why Craig feels so at home here," she said, seguing into an inspirational speech built on themes from her and Robinson's childhood.
She gave the graduates three suggestions:
1. Focus on what you have, not on what you're missing.
2. Define success on your own terms.
3. Don't leave behind unfinished business with the people you love.
The first lady raised the profile of the Oregon State graduation on a regional and even national scale - and swelled the crowd at the event, open to the public, to capacity.
"There's 32,000 people here," said Becki Goslo, mother of a graduating student, "and I wanted one of the best seats in the house. When you have a dignitary come to Corvallis, we're small, and it's a wonderful honor for us."
"We went to Washington, DC, once, and we didn't get this close," said Evelyn Wilson, whose son-in-law was graduating.
"I think Michelle Obama is an incredible first lady, and the opportunity to get to hear her speak is a once in a lifetime," said Max Peschel.
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