First Lady, Led Zeppelin’s Page, Puff Daddy: Commencements

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page receives an Honorary Doctor of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music on May 10, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Courtesy Berklee College of Music

Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page receives an Honorary Doctor of Music Degree from Berklee College of Music on May 10, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Among the commencement speakers at weekend college graduations:

First Lady Michelle Obama, rapper Puff Daddy and rock guitarist Jimmy Page.

“I think that’s the first selfie I’ve done at a commencement, ” Obama told the young woman who introduced her to the graduating class at Dillard University in New Orleans. “So, Nicole, you are my first.”

The first lady was joined at the graduation by Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Louisiana Democrat facing an uphill reelection battle.

“You all have come so far, I know, to make it to this day — from all those early days when the girls were sneaking out of Williams Hall to go see the boys over at the Duals — oh yeah, I did my research – to all those tests you crammed for, to the plans you’re making now for your careers,” Obama said. “You’ve witnessed this school’s rebirth after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina –-I know along the way that each of you has written your own story of resilience and determination to make it here to this day. “

Page, a founder and lead guitarist of the legendary British rock band Led Zeppelin, appeared more scholar than rocker at Saturday’s Berklee College of Music ceremonies in Boston, where he received a doctorate in music, donning a gown and cap with pick tassel.

When it came time to address the graduates, he had a little performance anxiety.

“I’ve got something here which could be reasonably called a speech,” explained Page, 70. “This speech is rendered useless. So here I am; I’m a sort of busking musician trying to busk my speech!”

Page shook the hands of all 850 graduates, some of whom got hugs and photos with him.

Sean Combs, aka Puff Daddy, also received an honorary doctorate from a college he attended, Howard University in Washington.

“Ain’t no homecoming like a Howard homecoming,” Combs joked. “And it feels so good to be home.”

“I can’t wait to live in the world that ya’ll are about to create, ” he told the outgoing students.

President Barack Obama will be the commencement speaker at the University of California at Irvine on June 14. International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde will address graduates of Smith College in Massachusetts later this month, as will Secretary of State John Kerry at Boston College, where he received his law degree.

Susan Wagner, cofounder and director of BlackRock, will be the commencement speaker at Wellesley College on May 30.

Ellen Kullman, CEO of DuPont, will address graduates of MIT. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, majority owner of Bloomberg LP, will address Harvard’s graduates on May 29. Comedian Jay Leno yesterday addressed graduates of Emerson College in Boston.


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