Office of the President

Dr. Patrick T. Harker is the 26th president of the University of Delaware. He also serves as professor of business administration in the Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics and professor of civil and environmental engineering in the College of Engineering.

Presidential Citation Award Ceremony
Gore Recital Hall, CFA
November 11, 2011

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I join Cindy in welcoming you to Homecoming Weekend and to our recognition ceremony for Presidential Citation recipients. Tonight’s honorees join a small fraternity, just 219 members. In a population of 155,000 living Blue Hens, “small” might be an understatement.

The smallness is by design. This award was conceived to recognize extraordinary achievement and dedicated service. Either one is worthy of praise. But when the two coexist, we think it’s worthy of a Presidential Citation.

Our honorees are clearly accomplished—in health and medicine, instrumentation engineering, marine logistics, business and finance, real estate and development. They’re the success stories we hold out to today’s students—the embodiment of the attributes we promise will yield good things: talent, hard work, discipline, passion, perseverance.

Maybe students wouldn’t believe us if they didn’t see it for themselves. But they do see it. The alums we honor tonight are a presence on this campus; in our classrooms, labs, and lecture halls; in the activities that bring us together and bind us together.

They speak to students about their areas of expertise and share advice on getting into, and moving up through, their industries. They hire UD students. They mentor them. They endow scholarships and fellowships, and advise student groups. They serve on our alumni boards and on our college advisory councils. They support our academic, athletic, artistic, and cultural programs. They serve as material examples of the remarkable professional success UD graduates can achieve, and what that achievement then obligates in the principled individual.

To the Honorees
The marketplace—locally, globally—is pretty scary right now, the pace of economic recovery is still uncertain, and even well-prepared college graduates are struggling. To have you come back to campus and offer up a job, an internship, advice, mentoring, financial support—an in-the-flesh illustration that all those attributes I just mentioned do still pay off, even now—that’s extraordinarily powerful.

I know students’ lives have been influenced—even changed—by yours. But they’re not the only ones in your debt: UD’s leadership, faculty, and staff have made better decisions and developed better programs because of your involvement in the life of this University. If all of our alums gave back as you have, if every Blue Hen thought “UD first” as you do, we’d be absolutely unstoppable.

I thank you for your generosity—of time and talent, of intellect and energy. I thank you for helping us build a better UD, not just by the distinction of your achievements, but by the power of your service and the wisdom of your counsel.

I thank you for constantly renewing your relationship with the University, for showing us the strength in community, for living our mission every day in your commitment to excellence and to others, and for helping us graduate young men and women on whom we hope to confer this very same honor a few years from now.

Congratulations to you all!

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