UC Irvine woos Obama for speech

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President Barack Obama boards Air Force One to leave Palm Springs International Airport in Palm Springs, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, en route to return to Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

President Barack Obama boards Air Force One to leave Palm Springs International Airport in Palm Springs, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 17, 2014, en route to return to Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

IRVINE (CNS) – UC Irvine is wooing President Barack Obama to give the school’s 2014 commencement address, possibly at Angel Stadium, it was reported today.

School administrators think they’ve got a secret weapon in the person of Mamadou Ndiaye, the Orange County Register reported.

Standing 7-foot-6, the tallest collegiate basketball player in the nation — a popular man on campus — has given a video invite to Obama, a hoops fan who played on his high school varsity team in Hawaii in the 1970s.

A UC Irvine faculty member will fly to the Capitol in the next couple of weeks to hand deliver the video, which also shows the rest of UC Irvine’s men’s basketball team shooting hoops. Also slated to be carried into Obama’s scheduler’s office will be mailbags stuffed with postcards and letters from UCI students and alumni requesting the president’s presence at the June 14 event.

Cathy Lawhon, spokeswoman for UC Irvine, told the Register that around 8,000 missives are in hand right now. The goal is to get 2,000 more before making the trip.

Traditionally, hundreds of colleges and universities invite the president to commencement. It’s anyone’s guess which one Obama will pick this year. Last year he gave the commencement address at Morehouse, an all-male historically black college in Atlanta. In 2012 it was Barnard College for women in New York.

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