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Remarks by
The Honorable Congressman
Louis Stokes
at the Ground Breaking Ceremony
for the
Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library

Friday, 20 November 1998
Annex I Parking Lot, 1:00 p.m.

LStokes.gif (25868 bytes)
    
     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 Stokes.
     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 Porter’s 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.
     Thank you.

© 1998 Howard University, Washington DC
H. Patrick Swygert, President
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