Cody Keenan, a 1998 Ridgefield High School graduate, gave the commencement address to the graduating class of 2018 at Northwestern University on June 23.

Keenan, a 2002 graduate of Northwestern, spent the past nine years at the White House and was President Obama’s chief speechwriter.

His message focused on idealism and perfectionism. “Hope is subversive right now… have it anyway,” he said. Asking the graduates to get involved, make a difference and don’t wait for someone else to do it.

He has been invited back to Northwestern this fall to teach.