President Donald Trump delivered his first commencement address on Saturday, May 13, 2017 to more than 18,000 graduates at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. The ceremony was held at the football stadium on campus. The attendance this year doubled its usual number, and school officials said it was a record crowd of over 50,000 people. So many people were there because of who the speaker was. Besides, it was reported that all students were mandated to attend.

Trump is officially the second sitting president to speak at Liberty's graduation.

The other sitting president was President George H. W. Bush in 1990. Before Trump delivered his speech, the university president Jerry Falwell, Jr. stated that Trump’s presidency has benefited the Christian community. Then, he presented Trump with an honorary Doctorate of Law degree.

The commencement address

The president's speech at the country's largest Christian university for the most part was encouraging and up-beat. He told the graduates to follow their conviction, but to be willing to face criticism. He told them to remember that nothing worth doing ever comes easy. The graduates were told to treat the word "impossible" as motivation.

During his nearly 30-minute speech, the president added a little historical background and emphasized the role faith plays in America.

He said when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth, they prayed. He said when the people wrote the Declaration of Independence, they prayed. Since he was on a Christian campus, he said in America we don't worship government. Instead, we worship God. He reminded the graduates that that's why elected officials put their hands on the Bible and say "so help me God" as they take the oath of office.

Even though this was Trump's first commencement address, it was not his first time speaking at Liberty. He spoke there before in January 2016 when he was campaigning to become president. It was at that time that Falwell endorsed Trump for president. In December 2016, Trump was invited to be the commencement speaker when he was the president-elect.

Trump made sure he thanked Liberty for helping him become President of the United States.

Last year's commencement speaker

It is interesting that last year's commencement speaker at Liberty University was someone else who is in the news today for a different reason. Trump followed Liberty University alumnus and football running back Rashad Jennings who was the commencement speaker in May 2016. Not only did Jennings graduate from Liberty, he has charities in Lynchburg and ties with the community. Jennings is among those at the top of the leaderboard on "Dancing with the Stars" this season, with his partner Emma Slater.