The Greeting

Savage.gif (21791 bytes)Mr. Frank Savage
Chairman,
Howard University Board of Trustees

FIRST LADY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, PRESIDENT SWYGERT, MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES, GRADUATES, PARENTS, HONOREES, PLATFORM GUESTS, FACULTY, ALUMNI, STAFF, LOYAL FRIENDS, AND SUPPORTERS OF HOWARD UNVERSITY, WELCOME TO THE 130TH COMMENCEMENT DAY OF HOWARD UNIVERSITY. COMMENCEMENT REPRESENTS THE MOST JOYOUS OCCASION OF THE YEAR. IT IS THE TIME ONCE AGAIN WHEN WE DELIVER ON THE HOPES AND DREAMS OF OUR FOUNDERS.

I BRING YOU GREETINGS ON BEHALF OF THE HOWARD UNIVERSITY BOARD OF TRUSTEES.

TO OUR HONORARY DEGREE RECIPIENTS, WE ARE THRILLED THAT YOU ARE HERE TO SHARE THIS DAY WITH US. WE HONOR OURSELVES WHEN WE HONOR YOU. IT IS CERTAINLY OUR PRIVILEGE TO ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR MANY ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

FIRST LADY HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON, WE WANT TO EXTEND A SPECIAL NOTE OF APPRECIATION. YOUR TRIP TO AFRICA LAST YEAR LAID THE GROUNDWORK FOR PRESIDENT CLINTON’S RECENT HISTORIC TRIP TO THE CONTINENT—THE FIRST FOR AN AMERICAN PRESIDENT. THANK YOU.

TO OUR FACULTY, THANK YOU FOR NOT ONLY IMPARTING YOUR INTELLECTUAL KNOWLEDGE AND WISDOM WITH THE STUDENTS, BUT FOR INFUSING IN THEM THE QUEST FOR EXCELLENCE, PRIDE, AND SELF-CONFIDENCE—ALL ESSENTIAL FOR COMPETING IN THE MODERN WORLD.

TO THE PARENTS AND FAMILIES, THANK YOU FOR THE MANY SACRIFICES YOU HAVE MADE TO SEND YOUR SONS AND DAUGHTERS HERE TO HOWARD. REJOICE – THEY HAVE MADE IT!

CLASS OF 1998, YOU ARE OUR RAISON D’ÊTRE. COMMENCEMENT EXERCISE IS THE EVENT WE ALL WORK TOWARD EACH YEAR. THE FRUITS OF OUR LABOR ARE NEVER SO EVIDENT AS ON THIS ONE DAY OF THE YEAR. WE LOOK OUT UPON YOU; YOUNG AND GIFTED, WITH ALL THE POSSIBILITIES OF THE WORLD BEFORE YOU AND FEEL A SENSE, YES EVEN A RUSH OF GREAT PRIDE—A PRIDE IN YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND YOUR POTENTIAL. THE FUTURE OF OUR WORLD IS IN YOUR HANDS.

AS WE APPROACH THE MILLENNIUM, WE FACE A NEW WORLD – A WORLD WHERE THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES ARE NO LONGER LOCAL, BUT GLOBAL IN SCOPE. A WORLD THAT DEMANDS THAT YOU BE MORE THAN GOOD, BUT EXCEPTIONAL.

THE CENTRAL CORE OF HOWARD’S MISSION SPEAKS TO THE PROVISION OF AN EDUCATIONAL EXPERIENCE OF EXCEPTIONAL QUALITY, WITH PARTICULAR EMPHASIS UPON PROMISING BLACK STUDENTS. YOU ARE HOWARD UNIVERSITY’S GREATEST RESOURSE. YOU JOIN A MULTITUDE OF HOWARD GRADUATES WHO HAVE LEFT PERMANENT MARKS ON YOUR WORLD. IT IS A LEGACY OF WHICH YOU SHOULD BE VERY PROUD, BUT ALSO MINDFUL. EMBRACE YOUR CHALLENGES WITH THE STRENGTH OF YOUR HOWARD EDUCATION.

AS WE STAND TALL, IT IS BECAUSE WE STAND ON THE SHOULDERS OF THOSE WHO CAME BEFORE US. THE THURGOOD MARSHALLS OF THE WORLD, THE PATRICIA ROBERTS HARRIS’S, THE DOUGLAS WILDERS, STERLING BROWNS AND A MULTITUDE OF OTHERS HAVE MADE THE MANTLE OF A HOWARD EDUCATION A MUCH DESIRED OBJECT. YOU ARE IN POSSESSION OF THAT TREASURE. USE IT WELL!

I INVITE YOU TO PONDER THE WORDS OF PRESIDENT MORDECAI WYATT JOHNSON: "THE HOWARD EDUCATION IS NOT FOR THOSE WHO ARE HERE FOR SELF-ADVANCEMENT. NO, THE HOWARD UNIVERSITY EDUCATION IS RESERVED FOR THOSE WHO WILL RETURN TO THEIR COMMUNITIES AND IMPROVE CONDITIONS."

MANIFEST THE CAPSTONE’S CORE VALUES OF EXCELLENCE, LEADERSHIP, SERVICE, AND TRUTH BY YOUR SERVICE TO THE LOCAL, NATIONAL, AND INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITIES.

DO NOT LET THIS DAY END WITHOUT MAKING THE COMMITMENT TO BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE IN YOUR CHOSEN FIELD. DO NOT LET THIS DAY END WITHOUT MAKING THE COMMITMENT TO BE OF SERVICE TO YOUR COMMUNITY AND THOSE STUDENTS WHO WILL FOLLOW IN THE PATH YOU HAVE MADE.

YOUR LEGACY BEGAN THE DAY YOU WALKED THROUGH THE GATES OF HOWARD UNIVERSITY. YOU HAVE PRESERVED; YOU HAVE TRIUMPHED; YOU ARE MEMBERS OF A GREAT FAMILY…THE HOWARD UNIVERSITY FAMILY.

AS A PRODUCT OF THIS INSTITUTION, I KNOW THERE IS NO GREATER PLACE TO BE EDUCATED THAN HOWARD UNIVERSITY. I AM CONFIDENT THAT THE EDUCATION YOU HAVE RECEIVED HERE HAS PREPARED YOU TO SUCCEED BOTH INTELLECTUALLY AND PSYCHOLOGICALLY.

AMONG YOU MAY BE ONE WHO WILL DISCOVER A CURE FOR THAT WHICH IS UNCURABLE. AMONG YOU MAY BE ONE WHO WILL CREATE GREAT WORKS OF LITERATURE AND ART. AMONG YOU MAY BE ONE WHO WILL RETURN TO YOUR COMMUNITIES AND DEMONSTRATE TRUE SERVANT LEADERSHIP. IT DOES NOT MATTER WHICH YOU ARE, AS LONG AS YOU MAKE A MEANINGFUL CONTRIBUTION.

HOWARD UNIVERSITY EXPECTS GREATNESS OF YOU. A HOWARD UNIVERSITY EDUCATION REQUIRES GREATNESS OF YOU. THANK YOU AND CONGRATULATIONS.