The first lady, Michelle Obama, was inspired by a Greek and Italian American valedictorian named Andoni Mourdoukoutas. The fellow valedictorian delivered an admirable speech about cultural diversity and ethnicity. Michelle Obama spoke highly of his speech during her final First Lady Commencement address, which took place at the City College of New York. She also praised the students of City College as solid proof that Americans still hold great dreams.
Although the First Lady refrained from using any names, it’s believed that she directed some comments toward Donald Trump. She criticized those leaders that take part in name-calling and show intolerance and anger. She argues that leaders who show a tendency to rule using intimidation and discriminate large communities, often act the way that they do because they have little else to offer.
Andoni Mourdoukoutas is the son of professor of NYU Pavlos Mourdoukoutas. He graduated with a BE biomedical engineering degree from Macaulay Honors City College in New York. He accepted many awards while studying at the City College of New York, including a 2015 Goldwater Scholarship.
Andoni has a particular interest relating to neural stimulation used to treat illnesses. He has recently been accepted onto a doctoral course in bioengineering. He received offers from both MIT-Harvard and UC Berkeley-UC San Francisco. He opted to complete the course at UC Berkeley.
Mourdoukoutas’ mother, Rose, had an interview with New York Newsday. She explained how they raised him in a home that was rich in culture and food. His sister is just as successful, speaking five different languages and working for the United Nations. Rose spoke highly of her son throughout the interview, stating how proud of him she was. Although she has always provided him with guidance, she allows him to make his decisions.
Mourdoukoutas gave an inspirational and humorous speech that highlighted the subject of diversity. He used his experiences as a young boy in his hometown and went on to speak about City College. He explained with ease to audiences how diversity is an essential component when It comes to careers and the country. He even drew inspiration from President Obama in his speech when he said that “we are not Black states, we are not White states, Latino or Asian countries, but we are the United States.” He directed some of his words towards the First Lady herself by saying that the President’s dreams are well and truly in motion, and will continue to be for years to come.
He expressed his thoughts about what it was like to be raised in an area with many third generation Italian Americans. He also praised his parents for their exceptional parental skills. He thanked them for their continual support and encouragement, especially regarding academic choices. He believes that his Ph.D. is something for all of his family to be proud of and celebrate together.
Mourdoukoutas closed his speech by reiterating that for a family of farmers from Greece to two generations of Ph.D. students in America is incredibly precious and somewhat of an American dream story.