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Violeta Ettle, Associate Provost for Administration
February 8, 2008
Good morning. It is indeed a great honor for me, on behalf of all the staff of American University, to deliver this greeting to all of you who are present here today, to share in this wonderful academic tradition. Thank you for joining us today. For myself, as someone who was a student, an alumna, a parent, a staff member and a senior administrator at American University, this event is more particularly meaningful as the person we are honoring today is someone I deeply admire, someone with whom I have worked directly and closely for the past many years.
Today I represent the staff of American University in congratulating our esteemed colleague and leader, Neil Kerwin. Please excuse me, but after all these year, I still cannot bring myself to call him “Corneilus.”
Collectively, we express our sincere hope that he will continue to strengthen the bonds that hold this extraordinary community together. American University is not just an educational institution with a noble mission. American University is a multicultural community of people working towards a common purpose, respecting each other's differences. American University is a workplace that recognizes and rewards performance and hard work.
If home is where the heart is, AU is a place that I and my other staff colleagues call “home.” President Kerwin has called AU his home for many decades as a student, an alumnus, a faculty member, a parent, and a senior academic administrator. Today, he is at the helm of this home, and we offer him our best wishes for success and our promise of support in all its many forms in the years and decades ahead. As a token of this promise of continuous support to President Kerwin, it is my honor, along with the chair of AU's staff council, Aaron Tobler, to present this gift, an heirloom compass, as a guiding symbol of his strategic leadership of this institution in the years ahead, to show him the way, even in the darkest and most stressful times. Neil, may this always remind you that the staff will be there with you every step of the way.