On Friday, Howard University held its 138th Convocation ceremony where, keynote speaker, Congressman Harold E. Ford Jr., was given a Doctor of Laws Honorary Degree. He expressed his views on today’s government and emphasized the importance of discipline and hard work.
“The class of 2009 will have to do the hard stuff,” said Ford. “Now is not the time to be cavalier and nonchalant.”
Ford is currently serving his fifth term in the House of Representatives and sits on the House Budget Committee and the House Committee on Financial Services.
The government doesn’t work like it used to,” said Ford. “We can see that by what happened in New Orleans, Alabama, and Mississippi.” He also said the government was slow to respond to the issues of homelessness and poverty.
He told students that we have to live with the consequences of the choices that are being made today. “You and I have a responsibility to live up to what we represent and I remain optimistic and excited about the upcoming challenges the class of 2009 will have to face,” said Ford. “If there is one thing I’d say to the class of 2009, it would be to always move forward and always do the hard stuff.”
Freshman, Sade Dike, of Daton, Ohio thought the message was relevant. “I thought Ford’s message was effective in light of what is going on down south. I like how he made comparisons between what is going on in America and in Iraq.”
“I thought the message was moving,” said senior broadcast journalism major Brandon Barber. “Ford is a model of how I want to be when I leave the Mecca. My vision, just like his, is to come together with my people, as well as those different from me, and forge a better community to live in.”
University President H. Patrick Swygert spoke of the importance of convocation and gave a special welcome to the students from New Orleans, Mississippi and Alabama who enrolled at Howard after Hurricane Katrina. “This year’s convocation is a special one because of the students we have from Dillard, Xavier and Tulane University,” said Swygert. “It is our nature to reach out to family and friends who are in distress.”
”We should be proud of our accomplishments,” said Dr. Floretta Dukes McKenzie, Chairwoman of the Howard University Board of Trustees, “we place our hope upon the freshman class and for them to add value to the university.”