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More From Hillary Rodham

In this video

Clinton recounts being turned down by NASA and the other opportunities closed off to her as a girl.

Hillary Rodham 's Biography

Early Career Ambitions: Astrophysicist, doctor, or teacher
Most Cherished Accomplishment: Her daughter, Chelsea Clinton
Most Meaningful Advice Received: Her mother told her that everyday she was given the choice to either be the lead actor in her own life, or a reactor to the performances of others.
The Moral Imperative of the 21st Century: "The empowerment of women."

Wellesley College seniors had never before chosen a commencement speaker from their own ranks when Hillary Rodham stepped to the podium on the last day of May in 1969. Education, she said, must grant “the courage to be whole” and permit people to live “in relation to one another in the full poetry of existence.” The speech received national attention and marked Rodham as a leading light for the young women of her generation.
 
By now, it’s safe to say that the early promise has been borne out; had Hillary Rodham Clinton “merely” attended Yale Law, served on the staff of the Senate Watergate Committee, become a respected children's rights advocate, been the first female partner at her law firm, been a mother, and served as First Lady of Arkansas, we would think of her as a leader. And yet she has by now spent two additional decades at the very heart of the national consciousness—as a sometimes-embattled First Lady, as a distinguished senator from New York, as a groundbreaking 2008 Presidential candidate, and as the 67th Secretary of State. Clinton has outlasted the smears to top Gallup’s “most admired woman in America” a record 16 times since 1993. “The courage to be whole,” indeed.

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