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Last Updated February 13, 2008

Brian F. Keane, President of the Alumni Board

February 8, 2008
Bender Arena
American University
As Delivered

Good morning. Today throughout the world, the American University alumni are 100,000 people strong. We live in 160 countries around the world, on every continent and in all 50 states here in the U.S. In this hall alone, we are joined by over 1,000 alumni, who came here to witness this historic event.

As alumni we are proud to take part in the inaugural ceremonies as one of our own is elevated to the position of university president. Indeed, today signifies the first time in the 100-year history of our university that an American University alumnus has become university president. But the excitement today is not simply that one of our own is becoming president; it is that this particular alum is becoming president.

Of all our proud, talented, committed alumni, Neil Kerwin stands out for his dedication, his integrity, his leadership, and his determination. It is this particular alumnus that is becoming president today, that is why we are here.

“Some men see things as they are and ask ‘why?'” … I use George Bernard Shaw. “I dreamed things that never were, and ask, ‘why not?'” Dreaming things and asking “why not?” is the vision this university needs. And it is the unique vision that Dr. Kerwin brings to this job.

In 1963, President Kennedy came to this campus to detail his vision for an America free of nuclear weapons. Today, and on this campus, the stakes are no less than they were 40 years ago. AU is setting a path as a worldwide leader in scholarship, the arts, and in service to our fellow citizens of the world. But as President Kennedy said, “this work may not done in the first 100 days. It may not be done in the 1,000, or even in the life of this administration, but let us begin.”

And so with congratulations to Dr. Kerwin, and a call to all of our AU alumni to rededicate ourselves to our university, let us begin. And as we do so, we present to Dr. Kerwin a photograph of our beloved alma mater. Congratulations and good luck.


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