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Graduation season is in full swing and the Bowie State University Class of 2013 had the privilege of being sent into the real world with an awe inspiring commencement speech by the First Lady of the United States of America. Michelle Obama encouraged the graduates of Bowie State University on Friday to live up to the legacy of their university’s founders and the leaders of the civil rights movement by promoting the importance of education in the black community.

“Just think about this for a moment — for generations, in many parts of this country, it was illegal for black people to get an education,” Michelle Obama soon to be alumni, referring to the period in which Bowie State was founded. “Slaves caught reading or writing could be beaten within an inch of their lives.”

She received thunderous applause from the excited crowd, which issued shouts of congratulations to individual graduates along with calls of “Go ’head, ’Chelle! We love you!” and a standing ovation that began before the first lady spoke a word.