Felipe Calderón shares touching moments with students

Mexican President Felipe Calderón told Mexican students with whom he met after the Commencement ceremony that they were a source of pride for him personally and for their country. L.A. Cicero

During his visit to Stanford this weekend, Mexican President FELIPE CALDERÓN took time out to share some intimate, behind-the-scenes moments with Stanford students.

At the formal Saturday evening Commencement dinner, which recognizes the Commencement speakers and the Gores, Dinkelspiel and Cuthbertson award winners, guests were entertained by Mariachi Cardenal de Stanford, which performed traditional folk music with members of Ballet Folklórico de Stanford. Calderón and First Lady MARGARITA ZAVALA sang along through the entire performance.

Calderón then personally pinned each Mariachi with a presidential emblem, to cheers from an audience of 160 that included former Secretaries of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE and GEORGE SHULTZ, Congresswoman ZOE LOFGREN and members of the Board of Trustees and the University Cabinet. At the urging of the crowd, Mariachi Cardenal obliged with an encore—and violinist OSCAR OSCOBEDO, a graduating senior in civil engineering and the group’s music director, found himself sharing a microphone with Calderón, who belted out the lead on a rousing song about the love of Mexico. There was not a dry eye on the stage or in the audience. Among the many guests who could not resist recording the rare event on their mobile phones: President JOHN HENNESSY and Rice.

On Sunday immediately after the Commencement ceremony, Calderón asked to meet personally with about 50 graduates from Mexico, who he said held the future of the country in their hands. He spoke to the graduates and family members about his personal pride—and that of their country—in their accomplishments. Posing for pictures with beaming students in caps and gowns in a brief reception at Sunken Diamond, he stayed until he had met every student.

— Lisa Lapin