AVE MARIA, Florida — U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos delivered the commencement address to a welcoming crowd Saturday at Ave Maria University’s graduation ceremony.

In her roughly 20-minute speech, DeVos focused on the teachings of religious figures, including Pope Saint John Paul II, Mother Teresa and Jesus Christ, and emphasized the importance of service to God, country and neighbor.

The speech earned DeVos a standing ovation from the roughly 230 undergraduate students and their families and friends. About a dozen graduate and doctoral students also received their degrees at the ceremony.

The warm welcome was in stark contrast to the disapproving crowds DeVos encountered last year while speaking at the commencement ceremonies of Daytona Beach’s Bethune-Cookman University, where she was booed, and the University of Baltimore, where students turned their backs.

Quoting Pope Benedict XVI, DeVos urged the room of graduates to harness their faith and push past life’s roadblocks.

Read More: USAToday.com

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