President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at Barnard College Monday, telling members of the class of 2012 to "fight for your seat at the table."
The president offered the approximately 600 members of the graduating class at the all-female college three specific pieces of advice.
"Don't just get involved, fight for your seat at the table," was the first thing he told the graduates. "Better yet, fight for a seat at the head of the table."
Noting that women held fewer than one in five seats in Congress and constituted less than three percent of Fortune 500 CEOs, the president said that Barnard women should step up and fight for what they believed in.
"It's up to you to stand up and fight. Don't be content to sit back and watch," he said.
His second piece of advice was to "never underestimate the power of your example." He said that the graduates should blaze a trail for the women who would come after them by being successful in the fields they choose to enter.
Finally, Obama told the class of 2012 to "persevere."
"Nothing worthwhile is easy," he said. "No one of achievement has avoided failure, sometimes catastrophic failures. But they keep at it."
At the beginning of his speech, Obama noted that Barnard had set the bar high with its last three commencement speakers -- Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, Meryl Streep and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, whom he described as "one of the best secretaries of state we've ever had."
He also got some laughs by noting how much times had changed since he graduated from Columbia University in 1983 when the Sony Walkman reigned supreme and "music was all about Michael and the moonwalk."
That prompted one person in the crowd to shout, "Do it!"
"No moonwalking today," Obama responded, in a rare moment of disappointment from the enthusiastic crowd.