May 19th, 2013
10:57 PM ET

Obama to new grads: 'No time for excuses'

By Mark Morgenstein, CNN

Atlanta (CNN) - Past, present and future came together on a thunderstorm-filled Sunday, as President Barack Obama received an honorary doctorate and gave the commencement speech at historically black, all-male Morehouse College, where the Rev. Martin Luther King and many other prominent African-Americans spent their formative years.

After opening with several one-liners, and more smiles than we've seen from him in the damage-control-filled recent weeks, Obama delivered a serious message to the class of 2013.

Photos: 2013's big-name college commencement speakers

During a speech rife with both personal and historical references, the president invoked a past full of challenges, often resulting from racism, but noted that African-Americans need to break free from that past to succeed in a globally competitive economy.

"I understand that there's a common fraternity creed here at Morehouse: 'Excuses are tools of the incompetent, used to build bridges to nowhere and monuments of nothingness,'" Obama said.

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