A few days before University President Mary Sue Coleman presides over her final winter commencement ceremonies at the University, she stood before a podium Friday in East Lansing to address a crowd of Michigan State University graduates.

In her address at the school’s advanced degree graduation ceremony Friday, Coleman emphasized the common pursuits and values of Big 10 universities, MLive reported.

“Support Michigan. Say good things about Illinois, and celebrate Penn State,” Coleman said. “Be champions for all of them, because public universities and their graduates strengthen our communities, advance our states and showcase our nation as a beacon of knowledge and discovery.”

She also used her commencement address to admonish the state’s decline in state funding for higher education institutions like the University and MSU.

After receiving an honorary Doctor of Laws from MSU President Lou Anna Simon, Coleman will again appear on stage with her East Lansing counterpart this weekend. Simon will be receiving an honorary degree at the University’s winter commencement on Sunday.

Renowned journalist Michele Norris will provide the keynote address. Norris was the former host of All Things Considered, a popular program on National Public Radio. She was the first Black female anchor on the public radio station.

The University’s winter commencement will not be Coleman’s final graduation event of the semester.

Next weekend, she will serve as the commencement speaker at Indiana University’s winter commencement.

Coleman’s flurry of commencement invitations comes as she prepares to retire from the presidency in July after 12 years of leading the University. Coleman has received honorary degrees from 13 universities and colleges, including the University of North Carolina and the University of Notre Dame.

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