The First Lady urged the students at Eastern Kentucky University to apply the same resilience and hard work in school to their lives beyond campus and to seek out people with different beliefs.
Mrs. Obama paid tribute to more than 600 graduates Saturday night in a commencement ceremony at the school. She received a warm welcome from several thousand attending the ceremony at the campus arena in Richmond. She said that the work ethic and resilience that got the students to graduation day will serve them well as they face life's ups and downs.
Two central Kentucky law enforcement officers who were killed on the job will be honored next week at a ceremony in Richmond.
Being honored on Tuesday are officer Mark Taulbee of Hodgenville police and Deputy Anthony Rakes of the Marion County Sheriff's department. Taulbee was killed in a vehicle pursuit in September, Rakes was shot to death during a traffic stop in November.
The occasion is the state Department of Criminal Justice Training annual law enforcement memorial ceremony. It takes place at 11:00 am eastern time Tuesday, May 7, at the Kentucky Law Enforcement Memorial on Eastern Kentucky University's campus.
Six Kentucky officers killed in the line of duty between 1884 and 1950 will also be honored. Their names were recently added to the national memorial.
Michelle Obama's commencement speaking schedule is taking her to Kentucky and Tennessee.
The White House announced Thursday that Mrs. Obama will address graduates at Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond on May 11. She's also speaking to graduating seniors at the Martin Luther King Academic Magnet High School for Health Sciences and Engineering in Nashville, Tenn., on May 18.
Eastern Kentucky was chosen for its commitment to veterans' education. The MLK magnet school recently opened a community supported wellness center and students tend to a community garden. Veterans and health and wellness are causes of the first lady.
The magnet school has also been recognized for its curriculum and high graduation rate.
Eastern Kentucky University's president warned of possible campus layoffs as part of a multi-million-dollar budget reallocation meant to free up money to bolster academic programs and boost salaries for faculty and staff.
In an email this week to faculty and staff, EKU President Doug Whitlock did not specify how many jobs might be cut or when. EKU has about 2,100 full-time faculty and staff on its main campus in Richmond and regional campuses in Corbin, Danville, Manchester and Somerset.
"There will be no way to accomplish what we need to do without a reduction in our work force," Whitlock said. "I am committed to this being a fair and humane process, but it must also be one driven by our decisions relative to core mission."
The university released the email to the media on Friday.