I am honored to be here today to speak at the first graduation of the American University of Madaba. To our honored attendees and the staff, faculty, students, and their families, I bring a greeting from New Hampshire and all who worked so hard to establish a partnership between your university and the higher education community in the United States. Senator Stiles and I have come to celebrate this wonderful occasion with all of you.I am also honored to extend greetings and congratulations to the university, graduates and families from The Honorable Governor of New Hampshire, Maggie Hassan.
Three years ago, I was privileged to co-sponsor with Senator Stiles a very important legislative act passed by the Senate and House of Representatives. The act was then signed into law by the Governor authorizing the American University of Madaba, located in the Kingdom of Jordan and incorporated in New Hampshire, to confer American degrees upon its graduates, subject to the authority of the New Hampshire Higher Education Commission.
I am also proud to announce that earlier this year the New Hampshire Higher Education Commission completed a mandatory three year review of the University and recommended unanimously that the State Legislature continue approval for the University’s authority to grant degrees as an international affiliate institution of higher education in the State of New Hampshire.
My life has been blessed with the opportunity created by my family. Both of my parents were the children of immigrants who came to America in the 1900’s. They were hard working people who believed their children should use education as a stepping-stone to move ahead. My mother left school to work and my father had only a high school education. Because of their support, I was able to go on to college and graduate school and to become a college professor and college president. I then moved to a career in public service.
And so, here we are this evening….we, the American University of Madaba, a unique academic community founded by the Roman Catholic Church through the leadership of the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem as a private, not-for-profit Jordanian and American university. Tonight the university is exercising, for the first time, the authority to grant degrees to those men and women who have by their own talents, determination and support from this international higher education community, completed the requirements established by the University to become graduates of this institution.
I am grateful to all who helped me along the way. Be grateful for your education – it is the key to your future. Use it well and your future will be bright.
In closing I want to offer you and your families, my hope for your future filled with the gifts of love, peace, and happiness – gifts that have no cost but great value. Thank you for the invitation to celebrate this extraordinary occasion with you. On behalf of myself, Senator Nancy Stiles and the people of the State of New Hampshire…..Salaam – Peace be with you.