Ambassador Susan Rice at Seton Hall
Payne, Sr., a 1957 graduate, was also remembered by his brother William D. Payne, chairman of the board of the Donald M. Payne, Sr. Global Foundation. "It was on the campus of this venerable institution of learning that my brother, Donald Milford Payne, a scholarship student, began to formulate his philosophy of life that would guide him toward initiatives to uplift the disadvantaged youth of his community and beyond."
"We are thrilled to have had the opportunity through the Payne Foundation to honor the memory of distinguished Seton Hall alumnus, the late Congressman Payne, by hosting such an influential guest on campus," said Andrea Bartoli, dean of the School of Diplomacy and International Relations. "I could not think of a more perfect addition to join the ranks of impressive World Leaders to come to Seton Hall than our National Security Adviser, Ambassador Rice."
Congressman Payne served as a friend and mentor to Ambassador Rice. She recalled his warmth and quiet humility that drew people in. "To Congressman Payne the only important thing was standing up for what's right, even if you're the only one standing. He took that enduring motto of his alma mater to heart—Hazard Zet Forward—even when, on occasion, the hazard was militants in Somalia firing at his plane. He never shied away from taking a bold or controversial position, if he was following his own moral compass."
The event marked the inauguration of the Donald M. Payne, Sr. Lecture Series as part of an ongoing relationship with Seton Hall University. "From the seed of the lecture series idea, all Seton Hall staff worked with us to water it, make it grow and blossom into a plant of which we can all be proud," shared Gayle Thigpen-Allen, Allen and Partners Inc., Payne Foundation consultant. "The Foundation really appreciates this partnership in that it helps confirm that Congressman Payne's alma mater also desires to preserve and advise the world of his great works and the need to continue his diplomatic ways in global interaction."
Ambassador Rice concluded her remarks to a standing ovation. "We need more people who look at the world and see, not the enormity of the challenges ahead, but the possibility for a better world that lies beyond them," she said. "When it comes right down to it, we need more leaders like Donald Payne."
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