Bill Clinton photo

Remarks Honoring White House Fellows

October 06, 1993

Thank you very much. Mr. Vice President and my longtime friend Nancy Bekavac, ladies and gentlemen, I want to welcome the White House fellows, their families and friends and the White House Fellowship Commission here.

This program has been largely a secret to the American people for a long time, and yet it has been one of the most important things that has been done to enrich and diversify the work of administrations for decades now.

We have a remarkable array of White House fellows this year. We have an American Indian poet and legal scholar working at the Interior Department, a basketball star and a tax expert at State, an AIDS specialist at Commerce, two doctors at the Pentagon. Several fellows work here at the White House, including an astronomer tackling environmental issues at the National Security Council, a Bronx preacher reviewing domestic policy—sometimes I think we do better praying over these problems than what we do anyway—an author and an illustrator helping to build our national service corps, and we have two heroes of the Persian Gulf war, one working for the Vice President and one for Mack McLarty, my Chief of Staff.

I am very grateful to all the people here behind me and all those who have served on the Fellowship Commission, including our birthday girl, Pauline Gore.

With all of your responsibilities, it's a credit to you that you understand the importance of this program, that you've been willing to give your time, your attention, your energies to it. I hope that you will always be very, very proud of this.

You know, Colin Powell was a White House fellow. Henry Cisneros was a White House fellow. Tim Wirth, our Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, was a White House fellow. We don't have any idea what these young people here behind me will be doing in 5 or 10 or 15 years. But one thing is for sure, whatever it is they wind up doing, they'll do a better job of it because those of you on this Commission gave them an opportunity to serve. And I will certainly be a better President because you gave them an opportunity to serve.

This has been a truly astonishing month. A lot of incredible things have happened in the world and in our country. And all these people have been a part of that remarkable change. We're committed to continuing to do that.

I told a dinner last night there's something to be said just for showing up for work every day. Sooner or later you can make some good things happen. But it's a lot easier when you've got people with the richness, the diversity, the gifts and the commitment of the White House fellows.

So to all of you, I say thank you, and I give you my renewed commitment to this program and to honoring your service and your efforts.

Thank you very much.

NOTE: The President spoke at 5:57 p.m. in the East Room at the White House. In his remarks, he referred to Nancy Bekavac, president, Scripps College, Claremont, CA.

William J. Clinton, Remarks Honoring White House Fellows Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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