Governor Gary Locke’s Remarks
Costco Scholarship Breakfast
October 2, 2003

Good morning, and thank you President Sundborg. I am honored to be here.

I would like to begin by congratulating our two student speakers today—Vanessa Castaneda [CAST-an-YAY-da] and Aaron Brown. We look forward to your remarks.

We are proud of you, and proud of all 282 of our Costco Scholars since this program began. To date, the Costco scholarship program has raised more than $5.7 million. I think that’s worth a round of applause.

I must also say what an honor it is to be included on the same program with former Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders.

Finally, I wish to thank some of the senior Costco executives who are so instrumental to these scholarships. On behalf of the people of our state, I’d especially like to thank:

· Jeff Brotman, a regent of the University of Washington; and
· Jim Sinegal, chair of the Seattle University Board of Trustees

Because they celebrate outstanding academic achievement, education and diversity, I’ve enjoyed coming to these breakfasts for a few years now. But I have other memories of other breakfasts, not quite so pleasant.

One memory really sticks with me. I had a grade school teacher who went around the classroom some mornings, asking us what we ate for breakfast. When we Asian American kids answered, "fish and rice," we received a sharp, stinging slap on the wrists. We were slapped for being "UnAmerican.”

When I was growing up, my parents instilled in us kids the value and power of education. They told us education makes dreams possible. And they passed onto us a passion for learning.

My parents were not affluent. But thanks to financial aid, loans, scholarships and part-time work, I was able to attend college. I was able to choose my destiny and realize my dreams.

These Costco scholarships will help so many students realize their dreams.

We are here because we recognize the power of education. But we share another, equally important conviction: Diversity is our strength.

In our diversity lies our humanity. A society that denies its differences is doomed to division.

But an inclusive society that embraces its rich variety of people, cultures, and religions reaches for the highest, best potential of enlightened civilization. Such a society—and only such a society—can truly be said to know and love its own soul.

We all want to live in a world without evil and without hatred. We want to live in a world that celebrates and embraces its diversity. Until we do, we must never stop working for such a world.

And that’s what these scholarships are all about. These scholarships reaffirm the very best in all of us—our faith in the virtue of diversity, our belief in the power of education, and our commitment to opportunity for all.

Congratulations to our Costco Scholarship recipients, and God bless you all for your efforts in making the world a better place.

So thanks to all of you for your generosity that will make the American dream come true for so many deserving students of color.

And congratulations to our Costco scholarship recipients!

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