The Honorable Congressman
at the Ground Breaking Ceremony
Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library
Friday, 20 November 1998
Annex I Parking Lot, 1:00 p.m.
Thank you very much Dr. Floyd
Malveaux, President H. Patrick Swygert, Mr. Dennis Hightower, members of the Board of
Trustees of Howard University, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen.
It is really very difficult to
formulate words that will express to all of you what I feel at this moment. A few moments
ago you saw the video in Cleveland Ohio. Obviously you shared through that video what I
experienced that day when Dr. Swygert announced the naming of this building in my honor. I
wish you could have been on that plane that morning when the two of us met at 7:00 in the
morning and I inquired as to why he was going to Cleveland. He was unflappable. He
immediately said that he was going in for an important meeting. And of course no one in
the world was more surprised than I when I walked into the Union Club where this luncheon
was being held in my honor by the Cleveland Growth Association and one of the first
persons I looked across the room and saw was Dr. Swygert. And of course my remarks on that
occasion you have already heard and I think you know the deep meaning of this to me.
I'd like to take a moment to
acknowledge some special people in my life, even though the President has done so in his
remarks. You cannot celebrate an occasion of this sort without realizing how much your
family has meant to you. Whatever I have been able to accomplish in my congressional
career has been because I have been privileged to have the most wonderful family in the
world -- a wife who has been able to understand all of the things I have had to do for my
congressional district and for everyone else other than the family. She has been stalwart
in support of me in everything I have done and today I'm proud to be able to share a
special occasion of this sort with the most wonderful wife in the world, my wife, Jay
I'm also privileged to have two other
members of our family here. One is my daughter Shelley who works here on the campus of
Howard at the Founders Library. Shelley happens to be my oldest daughter of three
daughters and a son in our family and we are delighted to have with us, Shelley Stokes. I
should have said Shelley Stokes Hammond. I'm sorry. That Stokes just sticks in there with
me. Also representing other members of our family is Gwen Walker McCorvey. Gwen, we're
delighted to have you here today with us too. Thank you so much.
Also, as you have heard, it has been
a pleasure to have a lady here today who will now succeed me in the Congress. And, we are
very proud of this individual. She is a former judge in the city of Cleveland. She also
served as our county prosecutor. She had a sterling career back in Cleveland. And it was
my desire to see whatever work I have been able to accomplish taken to the next level by
someone in whom I had the faith and confidence could do it. It is for that reason I am so
proud to have share this occasion with me, Stephanie Tubbs Jones who is the Congresswoman
elect of the Eleventh Congressional District of Ohio. Thank you, thank you.
Seated next to Congresswoman-elect
Jones is the person who is going to help her get oriented to Washington, DC by serving as
her administrative aide. This young lady, Ms. Marsha Fudge, also happens to be the
national president of Delta Sigma Theta. And I cannot mention a sorority without
acknowledging the fact that in the audience today are a number of my Kappa brothers who
came to be with me. I know Brother Tuckman, the senior vice grand polemarch, is here and
others. Any Kappa men, please stand and be acknowledged. Mr. President, you can ask for
equal time for the Ques.
But, I'm also privileged, and they've
already been acknowledged, but I would have to say to you that you cannot accomplish the
kinds of things that you are giving me credit for without having a wonderful staff. I have
been privileged to have the reputation of having the finest congressional staff on Capitol
Hill. And, that's because we took a lot of time to pick these people. They were dedicated
people. They didn't make as much money as people did in other walks of life, but they were
committed and dedicated. They are some of the finest people that I have been privileged to
work with throughout my entire career and that's my congressional staff.
In the video you heard Dr. Swygert
read a letter from John Porter, Chairman of the Labor, Health, Human Services and
Education Sub-Committee on Appropriations. Chairman Porters remarks meant a great
deal to me because of the work we have done together for a number of years. Many of the
things that Dr. Swygert cited that I have been able to do could not have been done had I
not been on a Committee where both the chairman and the other members of that committee
understood my commitment and the necessity for me to work on behalf of minorities
throughout our nation. And it is for that reason I want to acknowledge that nice letter by
John Porter and the service I have had with him and other members of that Sub-committee.
Let me say that Dr. Hassan Minor and
his staff are some people that Howard University should be very proud of. Oftentimes when
I needed the information to work on behalf of Howard University I had to turn to them.
They were some highly professional people who were always able to give me the type of
highly professional data that I needed to advance your cause. So I want to acknowledge
both Dr. Minor and his staff for being some very fine people.
As Dr. Swygert said, when he came to
Capitol Hill as Charlie Rangel's Administrative Aide, he was one of the young men who came
over and talked with me. But I share a great deal of pride today not only in what is being
done for me in terms of the naming of this building in my honor but also by what is being
done for our nation through the leadership of Dr. Swygert. My heart today swells with the
pride of seeing this man, who 28 years ago was just a young man like the other members of
my Congressional staff who are here today, was on Capitol Hill serving as Administrative
Aide to Charlie Rangel, one of the nation's great Congressman. And, to see him grow over
the years and go from that position to now being the head of one of America's premier
historically black colleges and universities. You don't know the pride that I have in the
fact that I in some way was able to touch him as he embarked upon this great career that
brings him to this institution today. So I want to say to all of you, we should be very,
very proud to have a man of his caliber and his stature heading one of America's greatest
historically black colleges and universities, Dr. Swygert.
And lastly, no one has been more
impressive to me over the years than Dr. Malveau who has appeared before that Labor,
Health, Human Services and Education Sub-committee on so many occasions as have other
professionals from this University who present the University's budget to that
Sub-committee. Having sat on that Sub-committee for 24 years and had all of your top
officials appear before us, I can tell you that Dr. Malveau and others who appear there
should make you very, very proud.
So, in closing, I just want all of
you to know how much pride I have today in having my name on a building on this campus.
This is something that I will always cherish and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
© 1998 Howard
University, Washington DC
H. Patrick Swygert, President
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