May is a blur of commencements and the Obama administration is in full gear. One important target this spring is black colleges. Michelle Obama flew to Pine Bluffs, Ark., Saturday to deliver the commencement address at University of Arkansas — Pine Bluff; tomorrow, her husband will address graduates of Hampton University in Virginia.
The administration has pointed out (and we've reported) that everyone from the prez to senior adviser Valerie Jarrett (Morgan State) to UN Ambassador Susan Rice (Spelman) will be giving those ritual send-off speeches at the historically black schools. It's good politics, obviously, to talk to the base and what's more basic than the chlildren of your most loyal constituents?
Strangely, an important university close to home was not graced by an administration official this year; the keynote speaker at Howard's commencement was former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr., who recently dipped a toe in the New York Senate race, then pulled it back. Maybe Harold's thinking there may be an opening in D.C. soon. Anyways, Howard made up for it by giving actor Hill Harper (photo) an honorary degree he can store next to his Harvard B.A.