Rahm Emanuel Speaks to Clinton School Graduates

May 11, 2013

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke as commencement speaker to the 34 student graduating class from the University of Arkansas - Clinton School of Public Service. Emanuel is most noted for his time as White House Chief of Staff to Barack Obama and as a senior advisor to President Clinton.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at Clinton School commencement.
Credit Clinton School of Public Service

Emanuel opened his remarks by saying, "Let's be honest, it was a bit of a culture shock when I came down here to the people of Little Rock. They sent a Jewish kid from Chicago who danced ballet to a place where everyone loved razorback hogs."

The commencement address lauded the Clinton School for its efforts to create open minds through international service.

Emanuel said, "So make change your ally not your enemy. Whether in this country or abroad, in Chicago or Shanghai, your success will be shaped by being open to what you don't know today. Your openness to different ideas and different approaches will make you a better professional, a better person, and a better partner." 

Throughout the commencement address Emanuel recalled his experiences with Bill Clinton to bolster his call for service.

Emanuel recollected the key players in the '92 campaign. "You may remember, be familiar with, a few veterans of that campaign. There was a Greek guy called George with a last name that no one could pronounce. A Cajun named Carville that no one could understand. There was a Begala with red hair and a beard and now has neither. James always used to say never let Republicans put us under their thumb. Which is why all of us were shocked that he married Mary Matalin at that point." 

Emanuel noted that the campaign team of 1992 remains in close contact and that the education and experiences of the graduating class far outweighs the qualifications of the Clinton election team.