Chancellor, UNK student note Clinton's
Hub Staff Writer
KEARNEY — University of Nebraska at
Kearney Chancellor Gladys Styles Johnston wiped tears from her eyes
as assistant professor of music Pina Mozzani sang the national
anthem Friday morning at the Health and Sports Center.
Moments later, Johnston began her
welcome at the convocation that featured President Bill Clinton as
"This is an occasion that will remain
engraved on your memory forever. Each one of us will relive often
this special event. For this university, city and state, this
convocation will be recorded as a momentous event. It will mark yet
another milestone at the juncture of the important pioneer trails
that followed the Great Platte River westward to lands of new
Of Clinton, she said, "He brings to
Kearney an outstanding record of accomplishments on both the
national and world scenes. We see embodied in him the power and
authority of the highest office in our nation and the leadership of
the free world. No other world figure could have the dynamic impact
that he has made on our town today."
Johnston called Clinton the education
president. "During his term in office, we have experienced a golden
era in higher education," she said.
"Throughout his presidency, he has
championed education, for he believes firmly that education lies at
the very heart of this nation's ability to compete and to sustain
its dominant leadership role in the world."
She said people in the United States
have witnessed the formation of a special alliance combining the
best from federal, state and local systems of governance to create a
"powerhouse" higher educational system that is the envy of the
"This president has always understood
the power and wisdom of higher education as a national treasure, and
his works are superb examples of its success. In his support for
education, we find the belief that education is an investment, not
Johnston noted Clinton's
contributions to making higher education accessible. "Today, every
student in every state has an opportunity to enter this university
system and to earn a quality education. We are proud that the
University of Nebraska at Kearney has carried its responsibility for
the central region of Nebraska."
She thanked the president for the
contributions he has made and for his leadership in the area of
"I trust that no one will leave this
auditorium today without fully recognizing the magnitude of what
William Jefferson Clinton has accomplished for American higher
After her remarks, Johnston and
University of Nebraska President L. Dennis Smith gave Clinton a
honorary degree of doctor of humane letters.
Before introducing student speaker
Casey Mendez, Gov. Mike Johanns said he took tremendous pride in
representing Nebraska. "Nebraskans are the finest people anywhere in
He said Nebraska has a "unique blend
of unity and diversity," and is a state of "simplistic
He said he hoped Clinton would
remember Nebraska and its people fondly.
Mendez, a UNK junior from Kearney who
is involved in several campus groups, said she has had no greater
honor than to introduce the president.
"On behalf of the students, I want to
thank President Clinton and the other distinguished guests," she
said. She also thanked her family for supporting her
Mendez stressed the importance of
international relations and fostering communications between
She said Clinton's efforts to expand
trade have increased Nebraska exports dramatically and that under
Clinton's lead, the United States has become a more secure country
and the world has become a safer place.
She also expressed a thankfulness for
the opportunities she said Clinton has created for women and
minorities to gain access to political positions.
As the first post-Cold War president,
Mendez said, Clinton had many new problems and challenges. "He has
unquestionably met these challenges."