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  • Commemorating the Retirement of Dr. William E. ``Brit’’ Kirwan

    by Representative John P. Sarbanes

    Posted on 2015-12-09

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    SARBANES of maryland in the house of representatives Wednesday, December 9, 2015 Mr. SARBANES. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Dr. William ``Brit'' Kirwan, who has been a leader in the State of Maryland and in higher education for more than 50 years.

    President John F. Kennedy once said, ``Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.'' Well, I can tell you that Dr. Kirwan's commitment to leadership and learning over these last 50 years have been indispensable not only to one another, but to higher education in Maryland and across the nation. Leading with integrity and purpose, Dr. Kirwan has earned the trust and respect of faculty, students and other leaders of higher education all over the country.

    Throughout his career, Dr. Kirwan has been committed to something he has described as ``constructive leadership''--which involves becoming a leader not through division and power, but through unity and service. He has embodied this philosophy at College Park, serving as chancellor of the University System of Maryland for more than 12 years, as president of the University of Maryland for 10 years and as a member of the University's faculty for 24 years.

    Dr. Kirwan has also taken his service and expertise beyond College Park, chairing the National Research Council Board of Higher Education and co-chairing the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics. He also serves on the boards of more than five organizations--including the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Maryland Chamber of Commerce, Greater Baltimore Committee, Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore and Maryland Business Roundtable for Education. And he belongs to more than four honorary and professional societies-- including Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, the American Mathematical Society and the Mathematical Association of America.

    These efforts have not gone unnoticed. Dr. Kirwan is the recipient of one of the nation's highest honors in higher education--the TIAA- CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership Excellence. His invaluable leadership and his commitment to higher education in our state have also been recognized by several Maryland-based government, academic and business organizations.

    But perhaps the legacy of Dr. Kirwan's service over these last 50 years is best conveyed in his own words. In a speech delivered to Phi Beta Kappa inductees in 2004, Dr. Kirwan said, ``Our nation is in dire need of a new generation of enlightened leadership . . . highly educated, wise leaders who have respect for the individual, for inclusiveness, integrity and the common good.'' He continued, ``. . . our nation and world face a distressing array of enormous challenges, which--without enlightened leadership--will only worsen in the coming years.'' If the next generation embodies Dr. Kirwan's commitment to service and enlightened leadership, I am confident that it will successfully take on the world's complex challenges.

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