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April 12th, 2017

Dr. William Harvey Gives Founder’s Day Address

Dr. William R. Harvey (left) receives Key to the City from Tuskegee Mayor Lawrence F. Haygood (far right) and Tuskegee City Councilman Christopher Lee (center)
TUSKEGEE, AL. - Hampton University President Dr. William R. Harvey delivered the keynote speech during Tuskegee University’s Founder’s Day 2017 celebration to an esteemed audience of administrators, faculty, students and city leaders including the Mayor of the City of Tuskegee, Alabama, the Honorable Lawrence F. Haygood, Jr.

Tuskegee University President Brian Johnson bestowed the Honorary Doctorate of Laws upon Dr. Harvey to the applause of an enthusiastic crowd filling the Tuskegee University Chapel.

Tuskegee City Councilman and Hampton alumnus Christopher Lee took part in the ceremony.   “As an individual who also shares a unique place in my heart for both Tuskegee and Hampton, it was a great honor and a real full-circle moment for me to present Dr. Harvey with a Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site commemorative coin and Key to the City of Tuskegee during the Founder’s Day Event,” said Lee. “I, alongside the mayor, also declared the Day: April 2nd 2017 as “Dr. William R. Harvey Day” in the City.”  

Dr. Harvey’s presence was symbolic of the rich legacy the two renowned institutions of higher learning share.  In his words, “ Hampton and Tuskegee are inextricably bound.”

Both HBCUs share a mission steeped in what is best described as a calling of service for human betterment as first articulated by Hampton University founder, Brigadier General Samuel Chapman Armstrong and resoundingly echoed, in the compelling address, by Dr. Harvey who has led Hampton in the light of Armstrong for nearly four decades.

The two HBCUs are interconnected in mission, leadership and in many other unknown ways.  From the land that Tuskegee rests on, to the name that the world recognizes as Tuskegee’s founder, Booker T. Washington; from the many stalwart soldiers of education who crafted the curriculum, graced the classrooms and granted degrees, to all who have touched or been touched by the both universities for generations.

Dr. Harvey’s profound storytelling illustrated the significant historic junctures between Hampton and Tuskegee while engaging the audience for a refresher journey back to the 1880s.   Introducing Lewis Adams, the heroic history-make a slave artisan in Tuskegee whose success drew the attention of politicians looking to sway the black vote in their favor.  The price for his influence was something of substantial gain for his people and the delivery on the promise resulted in the passage of a bill for a Negro normal school in Tuskegee.  

Now, where and to whom did those leaders turn for educational leadership and insight?  They needed to look no farther than the campus of Hampton University for a recommendation.  Hampton University founder, Brigadier General Samuel Chapman Armstrong recommended Booker T. Washington, the Hampton alumnus, educator and scholar who he trusted to lead,.

Washington arrived in Tuskegee on June 24, 1881 and it wasn’t long before he reached back to General Armstrong for help in the form of a $200 loan to purchase the 100 acres for a farm to serve as a campus.   Historical records will confirm both the launch of the institution and the physical campus itself, were made possible by Hampton University’s founder, Brigadier General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, Washington pledged his salary for the repayment of the loan, and as was the case with all of his debits, the loan was repaid.  
The parallels continue. Dr. William R. Harvey served six noteworthy years as an accomplished Vice President at Tuskegee.

“From the very beginning of Tuskegee, these two institutions have been intertwined in an extremely positive fashion,  In addition to your founder, other major figures have traveled the road between Hampton and Tuskegee. Among them are former President Moton who came from Hampton to Tuskegee, former president Luther Foster who graduated from Hampton, former President Patterson who served as Trustee and who became Trustee Emeritus at both schools…”

Other notables who have delivered the Founder’s day address at Tuskegee University include Former President William H. Taft, The Honorable John R. Lewis, Dr. Jerome H. Holland, The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, Dr. John Hope Franklin, Former President George H. W. Bush.

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