First Lady Melania Trump received a standing ovation as she took the stage to accept the award as Palm Beach Atlantic University’s (PBAU) 2020 “Woman of Distinction” on Thursday.
The private Christian university, located in West Palm Beach, Fla., usually honors two women per year who “cherish community and family and want to preserve these ideals for others,” it says. This year, Trump was the sole recipient.
The first lady, who switched her residence from New York City to Palm Beach along with her husband last year, said she was “grateful” to accept the award.
As the recipient, the first lady highlighted her #BeBest public awareness campaign, which she said focuses on children’s well-being, online safety and opioid abuse.
“It’s our job as adults to pass along wisdom and build children’s confidence so they have the best opportunity to succeed in life,” Trump told a room full of about 550 people during the event. “Technology has become a daily part of children’s lives. We live in an age where too many people allow the number of retweets and ‘likes’ to define their self-worth.”
“When we teach our children to cherish our values and care for each other, they are better prepared to carry on Americans’ legacy of compassion, service and patriotism,” the first lady added.
Trump said she had met with tech companies such as Microsoft to discuss their work in creating safer online experiences for children, and that 48 states had recently signed online safety laws into action.
Switching to the opioid abuse pillar of her Be Best campaign, Trump told the crowd she was “proud to announce” that for the first time in 29 years, drug overdose deaths have dropped by more than 4 percent, after her campaign had committed $6 billion to fight opioid abuse.
“America’s first lady has sounded the call for action,” PBAU President Bill Fleming said. “She serves as a role model with brilliance, elegance and grace.”