Congressman Stokes, Members of the Board of Trustees, President
Swygert, Visiting Dignitaries, The Howard University Family, Friends and Members of the
Community, Good Afternoon!
This is one of the most significant days in the history of Howard
University, and because of a respiratory problem, I can hardly speak about it. Im
speech-challenged today! On behalf of the Office of Health Affairs, I welcome you to this
momentous and exciting occasion--an occasion that we view with pride and anticipation.
This afternoon, a vision nurtured for many years and by many individuals will become
reality with the breaking of ground for the new Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library. This
state-of-the-art facility will be an invaluable resource not only for our students,
faculty, and staff, but for the entire community.
We were all elated when the university announced that the library
would be named the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library. The naming of our library is not
only an honor but a fitting and much deserved tribute to Congressman Stokes loyal
patronage over the years to Howard University. This honor also pays tribute to a 30-year
long crusade for health care in both the minority community and the national community.
Congressman Stokes fathered the Research Centers in Minority Institutions Act, an act that
strengthens research capability in African American schools of health professions. In
addition, he had a major role in developing the Minority Biomedical Research Support
(MBRS) Program and the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program, both designed
to increase the number of minority scientists. Congressman Stokes campaign for a
healthy America is truly legendary. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, he
led initiatives that secured and increased funding for research, treatment and prevention
of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and AIDS, all of which are diseases that
affect minority populations at disproportionate rates.
The Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library will indeed be a
state-of-the-art facility that will allow computer access throughout and will be equipped
with the latest digital technology. The library will consist of 80,000 usable square-feet
and four stories tall. That represents approximately four and one-half times more space
than the 71-year old structure that it will replace.
The new library will store 400,000 volumes of books, periodicals
and electronic format material. It will seat 615 individuals and wired with power and data
ports, permitting any user to sit with a laptop and retrieve information worldwide. It
will indeed be the most modern facility of its type in the nation. As we enter the next
millenium, the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library will position Howard University as a
leader in health care information storage and retrieval. This is consistent with our
provision of Leadership for America and the Global Community.
At this time, I want to acknowledge with sincere gratitude
some very important individuals who are responsible for making this day a reality for us
all. Congressman Stokes, Chairman Porter and the members of the House Appropriations
Subcommittee deserve our special thanks. Members of the Howard University Board of
Trustees who strongly supported this initiative also deserve our special thanks. The next
individual that I will acknowledge not only championed the cause of the new Health
Sciences Library, but in my mind was the single most important force to make the Louis
Stokes Health Sciences Library a reality. Before our President Mr. H. Patrick Swygert had
even settled into his office, I was on the telephone requesting his pledge of support to
expand library facilities to an Accreditation site visit team that was staring me in the
face. Mr. Swygert on a conference call with the team committed without hesitation to build
a new library. They were skeptical; they had heard this before. Well, ladies and
gentlemen, here we are just three years later, breaking ground for a new state-of-the-art
health science library.
Mr. President, I want to take this occasion to acknowledge your
commitment and hard work to make this a reality. I want to sincerely thank you on behalf
of Health Sciences and the entire university. I can hardly wait to see the faces and hear
the comments of our next accreditation site visit team that is scheduled to come in 2001.
I also want to acknowledge the hard and dedicated work of Dr.
Hassan Minor, Vice President for Governmental Affairs and Research, and his staff for
their contributions in making this dream a reality. I want to thank members of my staff
for your ideas and hard work as well as others throughout the university who gave
significant input and also made this groundbreaking ceremony a truly memorable occasion.
Whoever is in charge of weather, thank you! Finally I want to pay tribute to three
individuals who are here with us today: Former Deans Marion Mann and Charles H. Epps; Dr.
John Ruffin, ORMH, of the National Institutes of Health.
To each of you--the Howard University family, the Howard
University community, and visiting guests-- again, welcome. I sincerely appreciate your
presence here this afternoon.
At this time I would like to share with you by video a momentous
occasion in the genesis of the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library. This event occurred
in Cleveland, Ohio, in August of this year. The video is presented courtesy of Howard