First lady welcomed at historically black college

By ERRIN HAINES | May 15, 2011 | 3:45 PM EDT

Spelman College graduating senior Bethany Tenner, 21, of Las Vegas, N.V., waits to participate in her commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 15, 2011, at the Georgia International Convention Center in College Park, Ga. First lady Michelle Obama is scheduled to deliver the commencement address to the graduates of Spelman College, and attendees had to arrive several hours early for security sweeps. (AP Photo/Erik S. Lesser)

ATLANTA (AP) — First lady Michelle Obama was welcomed with thunderous cheers and applause as she took the podium to deliver the commencement address at a historically black women's college in Atlanta.

Her arrival Sunday at Spelman College took on the atmosphere of a homecoming as she stood before the graduates.

Most of the crowd were mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters or female cousins — all filling the 10,000-seat exhibit hall to see the first lady.

The 550 graduates swelled with pride upon her arrival and in watching her, saw a reflection of themselves and the epitome of the successful, black career women many hope to become. Obama's appearance was a coup for the 130-year-old school, which beat out colleges across the country for the honor.