Silver Scholarship Gala and Tribute to the
President on His 25th Anniversary

FRIDAY, APRIL 25, 2003 @ 7:00 P.M.

Thank you very much, Trustee Jones. Let me also thank all who have publicly offered their tributes as well as the many who have privately done so. I have a lot of people to thank, so bear with me.

First of all, let me thank God for the many, many blessings that he has so abundantly bestowed upon my family and me. I was taught at an early age that a spiritual grounding was important. When the taproot of spiritual vigor is out, then the plant withers and dies.

Secondly, let me thank my parents, both departed, for their love, guidance, and role modeling. For the thousands of lessons that they taught my sister and me, I want to say to you tonight that they—my parents—were simply the best!

I want to thank my wife who came into my life 37 years ago. As I’ve said so many times in the past and I want to say it again tonight—without her, I am nothing. She is the straw that stirs my drink.

To my children—Kelly, Chris, and Leslie—I want to tell you how extremely proud we are of you. You have and are maturing into wonderful, productive, caring human beings and when it’s all said and done, your mother and I could not ask for anything more.

To Valerie, you are a welcome addition to our family. And to little Taylor, I Love You more than life itself.

Thanks to my sister Anne, who came to this event tonight from Atlanta. I must tell you that our parents taught her well, for she had the very good sense to send her daughter to Hampton.

To my friends, and time won’t permit me to call each of you by name, but I thank you for your friendship.

To the thousands of students who have come under my charge during the last 25-years, my thanks to you. Without you, there would be no Hampton University. You continue to inspire me. And as I said at Founder’s Day, I Love You MADLY!

A special thanks to my colleagues on the faculty. This community of scholars who takes a personal interest in the individual lives of our students cannot be beat. Your accomplishments measure well with faculty at any institution in the country.

To those administrative leaders and staff who labor long and hard for Hampton University, I owe you debt of gratitude. There is no way that we could have accomplished all that we have accomplished over the last 25-years without that wonderful team. But further than that, the workers on the grounds, vehicle services, the housekeeping staff, the cafeteria personnel, the secretarial and fiscal staffs, all have contributed to making Hampton among the best.

My sincere appreciation and a special thanks go to the alumni with whom I have a special bond. Early on, I recognized that Hampton graduates were special. They took seriously their legacy of respect for knowledge, hard work, and service to others. Alumni have been enormously helpful—both personally and professionally. They have been one of my sources of strength and inspiration. In good times and bad, they have always been there. Thank you for accepting the Harveys as Hamptonians.

Let me also thank my Board for the opportunity that they gave me and continue to give me to provide leadership for Hampton University and the wider community. I am truly grateful for their leadership, oversight, stewardship, guidance, counsel, and support.

Let me now offer general thanks to the many in corporate and foundation America; local, state and federal governments; individuals, and the general public for your help and support. You have taken ownership in our vision, and for that I am grateful.

Now, as I sure all of you know, I plan to take a sabbatical next year to do some writing. Please know, however, that after the sabbatical, if it is the Lord’s willing, I shall return with a vigor to continue the mighty and wonderful progress that Hampton University is making. I look forward to the sabbatical and I look forward to my return. Let’s get on with it!