(CBS) — President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to visit the campus of Northwestern University in 60 years as he delivered a speech on the economy there Thursday afternoon.

A number of local politicians were in the audience at Cahn Auditorium, including Governor Quinn, Mayor Emanuel and Senator Dick Durbin. Obama promoted the economic progress the country has made since he took office and outlined the need to invest more in technology.

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“If we want to make and sell the best products, we have to invest in the best ideas, just like you do here at Northwestern. Your nanotechnology institute doesn’t just conduct groundbreaking research; that research has spun off 20 startups and more than 1,800 products, and that means jobs,” Obama said.

Obama touted his administration’s investment in community colleges and mentioned a plan announced by Mayor Emanuel to give CPS grads with good grades a free ride at Chicago City Colleges.

The president also touched in immigration in his speech saying, “Independent economists say that a big bipartisan immigration reform bill that the House has blocked for over a year would grow our economy, shrink our deficits, secure our borders. Let’s pass that bill.”

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Meanwhile, a few dozen immigration rights protesters gathered outside on the sidewalk along Sheridan Road, reports WBBM’s Steve Miller. The protestors were upset with the president for postponing action immigration reform.

Carlos Rosa, immigration protest organizer, says President Obama should act on immigration reform – or risk being known as the “Deporter in Chief.”

“We have over two dozen folks who are joining us today reminding the president that he made a pledge to the immigrant community to stop deportations and it’s time that he fulfilled that promise,” Rosa said.

Earlier in the day, President Obama attended a fundraiser for Governor Quinn at residence in the Gold Coast neighborhood. Approximately 25 people attended the brunch, with donors paying $50,000 each.

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The president arrived in Chicago Wednesday night after landing at the Gary-Chicago International Airport, as O’Hare and Midway are still dealing with delays and cancellations from a fire at an FAA facility in Aurora. Obama dines with some friends at RPM Italian steakhouse before heading to his Kenwood home.