2004 Commencement Celebration Howard University

May 7, 2004
by Dr. William R. Harvey

President Swygert, members of the Board of Trustees, honored platform guests, alumni, parents, friends, and especially the Howard University graduating classes of 2004, I am absolutely delighted that you would recognize me so generously with an honorary degree in humane letters. My joy is enhanced because of the high esteem and enormous respect that I have for Howard University and its outstanding President Pat Swygert. He is such a great leader and compassionate man. Even as a little boy, I admired and appreciated what we called the “Capstone” of higher education. Now, that you honor me with this award, I am humbled to have gained such approval from those I so deeply respect.

For me, education represents more than a career. It represents a way of life. Education is the key to the door of freedom. Education lights the pathway to success. Education leads to adventure and discovery. Education ignites passion and pleasure.

Its value is so thoroughly entrenched in me that I have never found need to question it; its myriad processes so challenging that I have never tired of exploring them; and its promises so real that I shall never cease to promote them. This, for me is the ultimate task—to promote education and all that it promises for those who would pursue it.

Although I have served as president of Hampton University for some 26 years, I continue to be committed, challenged and inspired by our students. I can think of no better occupation than spending each day with those who are our future.

Moreover, to have this fine institution recognize my efforts brings me joy, serves as a source of encouragement, and inspires me to greater achievement.

I share this degree with my wife, Norma Baker Harvey; my children, Chris, Kelly, Leslie and Valerie; and my grand-daughter, Taylor; for without their love, support, devotion, and sacrifice, I would not be here with you today.

President Swygert, Howard University: I thank you for this distinct honor.