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Lin-Manuel Miranda Stands With Immigrants in Penn Graduation Speech

Lin-Manuel Miranda Speaks at University of Pennsylvania Commencement ceremony and highlights first-generation college students and U.S. immigrants.

'Hamilton' creator Lin-Manuel Miranda reminded graduates of the contribution of immigrants throughout history in his speech at the University of Pennsylvania commencement Monday.

"In a year when politicians traffic it in anti-immigrant rhetoric, there is also a Broadway musical reminding us that a broke, orphan immigrant from the West Indies built our financial system," Miranda said. "A story that reminds us that since the beginning of the great, unfinished symphony that is our American experiment, time and time again, immigrants get the job done."

After Miranda defended immigration in the U.S., students and Penn President Amy Gutmann rose and gave a standing ovation. Like President Barack Obama speaking at Rutgers University commencement on Sunday, Miranda did not mention any presidential candidates or politicians by name.

In his speech, Obama told graduates that building a wall was not the way of the future and questioned the intellectualism of those who deny climate change.

Back at Penn, Miranda spoke directly to the first-generation college students watching the address, reminding them that each of their unique stories of perseverance mattered.

"I know that many of you made miracles happen to get to this day," Miranda said. "... I know because my family made miracles happen for me to be standing here, talking to you, telling stories. Your stories are essential."

Before the speech, Gutmann awarded Miranda with an honorary Doctor of Arts, all while listing "Hamilton's" achievements: A Grammy, a Pulitzer Prize and record-breaking 16 Tony nominations.

"There will be blind alleys and one night wonders and soul crushing jobs and wake up calls and crises of confidence," Miranda said, "and moments of transcendence when you are walking down the street and someone will thank you for telling their story because it resonated with their own."

"I feel so honored to be a detail, a minor character, in the story of your graduation day," Miranda continued. "I am painfully aware of what's at stake and cannot wait to see how it turns out.

To see Lin-Manuel Miranda's entire speech, click here.

In a more playful mode, legendary actress and singer Rita Moreno rapped the commencement speech she gave Boston's Berklee College of music, including in it a shout out to Miranda.

To see Rita Moreno's entire speech, click here.

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