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President, Hilton Hotels Corp.

Honorary Doctor of Laws



When the Detroit community honored the University of Detroit last December with a great civic banquet to mark the completion of the University's 75th jubilee year, our Reverend President, plans for the inauguration next September of the University of center of service to the Detroit community with which our independent University has been interdependent ever since its modest beginnings seventy-five years ago - a center of service which will embrace the many complex phases of human relations, domestic, community, industrial, political, economic, international. The ideal to be sought after is peace, a tranquility of order in human relations. To achieve the ideal there must be a recognition of right principles and an indefatigable effort to apply them to the world in which we live. The center will be quick to utilize every sound contribution which social science, group dynamics, social psychology, and other allied fields have made, and will make, to the solution of human problems. It will not, however, accept the worldly, naturalistic and secularist approach which dominates all too much of human relations thinking today. For the University's center recognizes that the beginning of wisdom in human relations is acknowledgement of the ever astounding truth that we are all children of God, and that the more profoundly faith works in us the more intensely it will lead us to respect the rights and seek the good of all those children, our brothers. The love of man, apart from the love of God, tends to become a sentimental, snobbish and socially irresponsible worship of an ideal projection, quite compatible with hatred and contempt of real men and women. The University has an exciting vision of its Center for Human Relations. The vision has begun with an idea, it looks forward to a program, it will include a well-trained staff, it foresees men and women coming as individuals and in groups to compose differences which have baffled their most honest efforts. It pictures a home, a new and impressive building, within whose friendly walls human problems will be adjusted, not by arbitration or calculating compromise, but in the spirit of prudence and of justice blended with brotherly love. This building will be far less massive than the Hague Tribunal, less stately than the halls of Geneva, less pretentious than the home of the United Nations, but it will be a home in which real men and women will find real solutions to their disagreements and contentions. For within this home will be enshrined the New Commandment of Christ, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." Visions are often thought of as unsubstantial. But tonight tour vision will take on substance. The University presents to you two men who represent all that is best in two of the most influential and indispensable groups in our society, two necessarily complementary groups - those who initiate, finance and direct, and those who produce, assemble and transport the vast output of goods and services for the material wellbeing of our people. These men have already achieved with distinction, each in his chosen sphere, what the University has at heart to do in its many-sided program of Human Relations, and so their presence here tonight is both a symbol of our hopes and an augury that they will be realized. Reverend President, I have the honor of presenting for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws, our commencement speaker, Conrad Nicholson Hilton, a son of the spacious American Southwest, whose breadth of vision, adventurous spirit, and free-reined energy have electrified the business world with all the thrill of a Western romance. For him the Brotherhood of Man under God spells out international cooperation, civic unity, social amity and economic partnership between employer and employee. For him the essential worth of the human person is not diminished by crippling infirmity, and so he has taken a leading part in the noble movement to provide the physically handicapped with an opportunity to serve with dignity and to achieve with honor. An authentic representative of the American spirit of enterprise, cooperation and good-will he has flung embassies across the seas by building or financing hotels in distant lands. Lastly he has, I may say, anticipated and given substance to our own dream of a Center for Human Relations by establishing just such centers in each of the fifteen hotels which constitute his empire. Commencement, University of Detroit, June 9, 1953.

University of Detroit

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