Mr. President, it is an honor to present to you and to this community John Kerry, United States Senator from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
John Kerry, you come before us now as a Senator on the brink of great accomplishment. But we honor you today for a career already rich in accomplishment as well as promise, a career many of us have followed with admiration and affection.
You served nobly and well as an officer in the United States Navy during the war in Vietnam, decorated twice and wounded in the course of your service. Upon your return you followed the course of a higher patriotism, raising the voice of a warrior in the service of peace and conscience. Few can forget those moments in 1971 when, as a spokesman for Vietnam veterans, you called for an end to our longest and sorriest war.
You studied law and then worked as an Assistant District Attorney where your commitment to equal and efficient justice earned praise even from those who did not share your political views.
As Lieutenant Governor you were an eloquent spokesman for environmental protection and vigorous economic development policies.
As a candidate for the United States Senate, a short year ago, you chose to make our hope for peace — the overriding issue of this age — the centerpiece of your political aspiration. Yours has been a reasoned and eloquent voice for a peaceful world, free of nuclear terror, where Americans can be proud of the contribution their leaders make to comity among nations.
John Kerry, upon your election to the Senate, you have once more spoken with the voice of the patriot who cares too much to allow his nation to slide into another quagmire with uncertain allies. You have given voice to our hopes for peace and democracy in Central America and the Philippines, even while suffering criticism. As a member of the Committee on Foreign Relations you have stood for peace, for human rights, and for traditional American values of democracy.
Already you have travelled the Commonwealth to learn directly of the concerns of its citizens. You have reminded us of our need to act now to create the economy of tomorrow, an economy that provides for the needs of today’s youth and tomorrow’s families.
We know you as a young soldier who stirred us, as a politician who uplifted us, as a spokesman for peace and a man of reason.
Therefore, Mr. President, on behalf of our best hopes for the future, and the trustees, faculty students and staff of the community at Clark University, I present John Kerry in order that the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, may be conferred upon him.