‘I call on you to serve’: Gov. Moore highlights service to Baltimore in Coppin State commencement speech

Gov. Wes Moore delivers the 2023 commencement speech for Coppin State University. (Courtesy, The Office of Gov. Wes Moore)

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore delivered his first commencement speech as state executive at Coppin State University’s 2023 graduation ceremony Friday.

He was also awarded the Coppin State University Presidential Medallion, which honors Fanny Jackson Coppin’s life of academic service.

In his speech, Moore referenced the “journalists, elected officials, nonprofit leaders and social entrepreneurs” who graduated from Coppin.

“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,” Moore said. “And today I call on you, Coppin class of 2023, to own that tradition. I call on you to serve.”

He specifically called on the class of more than 400 graduates to serve the city of Baltimore, where the historically Black university is located.

“Today, you have before you a community that needs your service: Baltimore City,” Moore said.

Moore told CBS in January that he had considered Baltimore his home since his mother moved there when he was 14 years old.

“I’m not a Baltimorean by birth; I’m a Baltimorean by choice,” Moore said.

His family also moved to Baltimore in 2016 before moving to Annapolis, Maryland’s capital, this year when he was sworn in as governor.

In his speech, Moore called Baltimore a misunderstood city, saying people “have worked to make Baltimore a descriptor of something nefarious, undisciplined and dark.”

“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,” Moore said. “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.”

Gov. Wes Moore hugs a Coppin State University graduate. (Courtesy the Office of Gov. Wes Moore)

Moore’s office also highlighted in the speech’s news release how Maryland’s 2024 budget dedicated $62.6 million to the state’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities, with Coppin State receiving $9 million.

Moore connected the graduates’ service to their community to his future goals for Maryland.

“By taking up a mantle of service, you will be able to participate in the movement that we are building.”

Emily Venezky

Emily Venezky is a digital writer/editor at WTOP. Emily grew up listening to and reading local news in Los Angeles, and she’s excited to cover stories in her chosen home of the DMV. She recently graduated from The George Washington University, where she studied political science and journalism.

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