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Rachel Mann
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Ambassador Rice Tells Students to Fire Ambition with Passion and Patriotism
Gallery of images from the 145th Opening Convocation held on September 28, 2012
Photos by Justin D. Knight.

WASHINGTON  – Ambassador Susan E. Rice encouraged an audience of students at the 145th Howard University Convocation to “thrive in the Promised Land”  while striving to complete the work of trailblazing American leaders who came before them.

“Your generation is about thriving in the Promise Land,” said Rice. “It is about finding your own way on the soil your grandparents only dreamed about undertaking. I come here to ask, ‘What will you do?’ What will your generation contribute? How will you carry on the legacy of service to your country and the world?”

Rice serves as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, a cabinet-level position under President Barack Obama. From 1997-2001, Rice held the post of U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs where she oversaw U.S. foreign policy for 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa and 43 U.S. Embassies.

Ambassador Rice, speaking in Cramton Auditorium, described Howard as a “legendary American university.” She cited Abraham Lincoln’s Civil War-era appeal that Americans rededicate themselves to the “unfinished work” of improving the nation. She told students they also have major responsibilities ahead.

“Today, we’ve got unfinished work to do to expand the reach of democracy, human rights and human dignity around the world,” said Rice. “We’ve got unfinished work to do when half of humanity lives on less than $2.50 a day.”

Rice also charged freshmen to take up the Howard tradition of service and join the legacy of student community leaders.

"Freshmen, use your time at Howard to decide where your personal passion lies," said Rice. "If you want to be a civil engineer, go to Kenya with Howard's Engineers without Borders and help design clean water systems. If you want to teach, spend an Alternative Spring Break helping adults in Detroit learn to read."

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