“The Strength to Serve”
MD. Governor Wes Moore Delivers 2023 Commencement Speech to Graduating Class of Coppin State University
ANNAPOLIS, MD — Before nearly 4,000 graduates, family, friends, and alumni, Governor Wes Moore last week delivered a powerful commencement speech to the 2023 graduating class of Coppin State University in Baltimore. In his speech, titled “The Strength to Serve,” Governor Moore called on the class of more than 400 graduates to serve their communities and carry forward the Coppin State University tradition of giving back.
During the ceremony, Governor Moore was honored with the Coppin State University Presidential Medallion — the highest honor awarded by the institution for outstanding service and leadership. The bronze medallion honors the life and legacy of Fanny Jackson Coppin, the university’s namesake.
Excerpts from Governor Moore’s speech as delivered:
When you receive your diploma, you won’t just be getting a piece of paper with your name on it; you will have earned membership within a pantheon of graduates who’ve used what they’ve learned to make the world a better place. Journalists—elected officials —nonprofit leaders—social entrepreneurs. And today I call on you, Coppin Class of 2023, to own that tradition. I call on you to serve. It doesn’t matter how you serve – what matters is that you choose to serve.
When you serve, you start to view every problem as an opportunity. When you serve, you connect with the world. When you serve, your tribe becomes larger than you could have ever possibly imagined. And service is sticky: people who serve together stick together—and build friendships across backgrounds.
Today, you have before you a community that needs your service: Baltimore City. Now, I know there are some people who don’t know about this city and don’t understand this city. There are those who want to profit, financially or politically, by making people scared of Baltimore. People who have worked to make Baltimore a descriptor of something nefarious, undisciplined, and dark. People who want to highlight our inadequacies instead of elevating our ingenuity. News outlets and political pundits who build followings by undermining instead of uplifting.
But here’s the Baltimore I know: I know a city that’s full of love. I know a city that’s full of heart. I know a city that unites people from all walks of life. Now is the time for us to band together and unleash the full potential of this city—and I want you to know that you have a partner in the State House. Because for this to be Maryland’s decade, it needs to be Baltimore’s time. By taking up a mantle of service, you will be able to participate in the movement that we are building.
Governor Moore is committed to elevating Coppin State University and all of Maryland’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities. In the 2024 budget, the Moore-Miller administration dedicated $62.6 million to the state’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities — with $9 million secured for Coppin State. In addition, the governor’s budget dedicates $17.6 million to make multi-year strategic investments in Maryland campus facility renewal projects.