The White House, President George W. Bush Click to print this document

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
November 27, 2001

President Commends U.S. Nobel Laureates
Remarks by the President In Honor of the United States Nobel Laureates
The East Room

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en Español  En Español

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1:20 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Ambassador, thank you very much.  Welcome.  Dr.  Marburger, thanks for putting this on.  We're so honored that so many great Americans have shown up today.  Laura and I are thrilled to not only greet you, but host a reception after this brief dialogue.

I want to welcome all the Nobel laureates, past and present.  I want to thank members of the Congress for being here.  I want to thank members of my Cabinet for coming.  And I am grateful that family and friends have joined such a distinguished crowd.

As the Ambassador said, for a century now, the Nobel Prize has recognized human striving and accomplishment.  Since 1901, more than 700 Nobel Prizes have been awarded, and a third of those to Americans.

Standing with me are seven of those who have been selected this year.  Among their achievements are path-breaking discoveries in physics, helpful insights in the workings of the market economies, and a new treatment for Parkinson's Disease.  And all of America congratulates them.

Each Nobel laureate here today belongs to an incredibly select group of people.  It includes the names of Martin Luther King, Jr., George C.  Marshall, T.S. Elliot, Albert Einstein, Vice President Charles Dawes, and President Theodore Roosevelt, the first American Nobel laureate, whose Peace Prize today occupies a place of honor in the West Wing of the White House.

Tomorrow I'll meet with the newest recipient of that prize, Secretary General Kofi Annan.  Several other Nobel laureates have visited the White House this year:  Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama, Shimon Peres.

These folks come from different regions of the world, but the Nobel Foundation is never limited by region or culture.  The standard is a universal one.  It is awarded to men and women who have served the highest aspirations of humanity, and have done so with success.  Many awards recognize excellence.  The Nobel Foundation recognizes greatness.

So much of human progress depends on achievements in medicine, physics, chemistry, economics, literature and peace.  The annual selection of the laureates expresses a profound optimism about humanity and our prospects for improvement.  This optimism was captured by William Faulkner, when accepting his Nobel Prize a half-century ago.  "I believe," he said, "that man will not merely endure, he will prevail.  He is immortal, not because he alone amongst creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul -- a spirit capable of compassion, sacrifice, and endurance.

Each of you, in your own field of excellence, has carried forward that same belief in human progress.  You've achieved greatness through service to others.  You have been given great gifts, and you've used them to your fullest.

Our nation is proud of the work each of you have done.  We're proud to count you as fellow citizens.  We thank you for bringing credit to our country, and great benefit to mankind.

And now, Laura and I would like to invite you all into the foyer for a reception.  God bless.  (Applause.)

END          1:26 P.M. EST

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