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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick Delivers Charter Day Address

Photo by Ron Ceasar
L-R Governor L. Douglas Wilder, nation's first black governor, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert during the citation presentation at Howard University's 141st Charter Day Convocation

Until he was 14, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick shared a bunk bed with his mother and his sister, which meant every third night one of them slept on the floor.

By the time his daughter was 14, she had visited three continents and had experienced life in a way that he said he could have never conceived when he was her age, Patrick told hundreds Friday during a ceremony celebrating the 141st anniversary of the founding of Howard University.

Such a change in circumstances in only one generation could only happen in America, said the nation’s second African-American governor.“This is the American story,” Patrick said, a story that he said he wants to make happen for more Americans as governor.

Patrick 51, a key cog in Illinois Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, received an honorary doctorate degree from Howard University President H. Patrick Swygert during the ceremony. Douglas Wilder, the nation’s first black governor, helped bestow the honor on Patrick.

Patrick, who had a distinguished career in business and government before being elected in 2006, was honored for his exemplary leadership.

The university was also celebrating the completion of its five-year, $272 million fundraising campaign, the largest in history by any African-American organization. More than 30 Howard graduates gave the school $1 million or more.

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