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