Letter to 2006 Graduates from
President H. Patrick Swygert

You have successfully completed your program, and you are now ready to begin the next chapter of your lives. I share your sense of accomplishment and excitement as you exit Howard University and prepare to face a future full of possibility and promise.

For many of you, earning your undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree is perhaps your most significant accomplishment to date, and it is one that you should be justly proud of. The decision to pursue higher education and to do so at Howard University was a wise and timely investment in your future and one that, I assure you, will result in a lifetime of rich rewards in many ways. It is a well-known fact that the majority of people who choose to pursue higher education enjoy a significantly higher quality of life than those who do not. Benefits include higher salaries, greater job satisfaction, a longer life span, and better health overall.

Further, as a Howard graduate charting your course, you have the added benefit of a legacy of leadership and service as well as a commitment to upholding human rights and dignity. Indeed, our history is steeped in a tradition of confronting challenges with courage and vision embodied by our distinguished alumni -- thinkers, teachers, researchers, lawyers, judges, engineers, architects, healthcare professionals, public servants, entrepreneurs, critics, and activists -- who have made positive and lasting impact on the world.

The fact that you are graduating this year is testimony to your own hard work, determination, and purposefulness. Despite the challenges inherent in completing a rigorous course load, complicated for some by personal difficulties, you remained steadfast in your desire to achieve your goals. Now, and in the years to come, you will be rewarded for your prudence.

I have every confidence that while you will not be greeted by a perfect world, you have the skills and grace to overcome whatever hurdles you will encounter in the months and years ahead. Howard has prepared you well and now it is up to you to grasp new opportunities, define yourself and your place in the world, and make a difference to those who will look to you for leadership and support.

Please keep alive the great spirit of Howard University and the special experience that you and others before have cherished so deeply. I give you my very best wishes for a happy and rewarding life, and we are counting on you to help preserve a unique and glorious heritage.


H. Patrick Swygert