Obama is to address more than 3,000 members of the class of 2016 at the 169-year-old public college on Friday.
City College President Lisa S. Coico will present an honorary doctorate of humane letters to the first lady.
City College of New York was founded in 1847 and has long prided itself on educating immigrants and those without the means for a private university.
More than 40% of City College’s students are first-generation college students and half are from low-income households.
The college counts 10 Nobel Prize winners among its alumni.