2008 Luncheon Information
2008 KEYNOTE SPEAKER
The Honorable Alcee Hastings
Member of the United States Congress
Alcee L. Hastings represents his native state of Florida, serving as Congressman for District 23. He was elected to his first term in 1992 and currently is in his seventh term. Born in Altamonte Springs, he attended Florida's public schools and graduated from Fisk University in 1958. He attended Howard University School of Law and received his J. D. degree from Florida A&M University. Known to many as "Judge", Alcee Hastings has distinguished himself as an attorney, civil rights activist, judge and now a Member of Congress. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter in 1979, he became the first African-American Federal Judge in the state of Florida where he served for ten years. He is the first African-American from Florida to be elected to Congress since the post- Civil War period. Congressman Hastings is a senior member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and a member of the powerful House Rules Committee. On the Rules Committee, he is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Legislative Budget Process. This Subcommittee has general responsibility for inter-branch relations between Congress and the Executive Office.
As a Senior Democratic Whip, he is an influential member of the Democratic leadership and underscoring his commitment to bipartisanship with his Florida colleagues, he is the Co-Chair of the Florida Delegation. He also serves as Vice-Chair of the Democratic Select Committee on Election Reform.
Known as a worldwide expert in foreign policy, Mr. Hastings introduced legislation advocating diplomacy before military action to settle disputes with established and emerging nations. He serves as Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe. Members of the Commission were appointed by the Speaker of the House, the Majority Leader of the Senate and the President in 2007. Known as the Helsinki Commission, this independent U. S. government agency was created in 1976, to monitor and encourage compliance with the landmark human rights and democracy-building treaty signed in Finland the previous year.
Congressman Hastings is the proud recipient of numerous honors and awards bestowed on him from organizations both at home and abroad. His governing philosophy is simple: he firmly believes that progress and change can be achieved through mutual respect and appreciation, that individuals and communities see beyond limits of parochialism, enabling them to better understand each other.
H. Patrick Swygert
President of Howard University
Our theme is "Rays of Light" and Mr. Swygert has illuminated our alma mater in numerous ways. During his tenure as President, our beloved Howard has made major advances in maintaining a high level of academic excellence, attracting and increasing the number of scholars, expanding the physical plant and establishing an endowment. Along with these achievements, he encouraged positive outreach of the Howard students, maintained a highly trained faculty and improved the national ranking of Howard University among institutions of higher learning.
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