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Though solemn at times, Obama speech not without humor

Jenn Metz | Sunday, May 17, 2009

President Barack Obama received almost as many laughs as ovations during his address to graduates Sunday in the Joyce Center.

Though some pro-life protesters shouting from the upper bleachers in the arena interrupted some of the president’s lighter comments, Obama made jokes about his luck with honorary degrees and latent basketball talent.

The president addressed the controversy surrounding his honorary Doctor of Laws degree with a joke and a request to University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh.

“I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but these honorary degrees are apparently pretty hard to come by. So far I’m only one for two as President,” Obama said, alluding to Arizona State University’s decision to not award him an honorary degree when he spoke at the school’s commencement Wednesday.

“Father Hesburgh is 150 for 150. I guess that’s better,” Obama said. ” Father Ted, after the ceremony, maybe you can give me some pointers on how to boost my average.”

The president, in congratulating the class of 2009 for their accomplishments, especially acknowledged this year’s winning Bookstore Basketball team.

“I want to congratulate the winners of this year’s tournament, a team by the name of ‘Hallelujah Holla Back.’ Well done,” he said. “Though I have to say, I am personally disappointed that the “Barack O’Ballers” didn’t pull it out. Next year, if you need a 6’2″ forward with a decent jumper, you know where I live.”