Lin-Manuel Miranda has a very important reminder about Hamilton. When the Grammy, Tony, and Pulitzer-winning superstar gave the commencement speech at the University of Pennsylvania Monday (May 16), he emphasized that immigrants are the backbone of Hamilton and, well, the entire country.
“In a year when politicians traffic in anti-immigrant rhetoric,” Miranda said, “there is also a Broadway musical reminding us that a broke, orphan immigrant from the West Indies built our financial system.”
He is referring, of course, to Alexander Hamilton, who was a founding father of the United States, the first Secretary of the Treasury, and the founder of our entire modern financial system. No big deal.
It was also a special occasion for Miranda. At the ceremony, he was awarded with a much-deserved honorary Doctor of Arts.
“I know that many of you made miracles happen to get to this day,” he continued. “I know that parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, and family behind you made miracles happen to be here. I know because my family made miracles happen for me to be standing here talking to you, telling stories. Your stories are essential. [The Hamilton] story 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.”
His powerful words earned him a standing ovation from the class of 2016. Watch the full speech below.