Hundreds of students gathered on the Green in the heart of UD’s Newark campus to welcome alum Joe Biden back to the school he graduated from in 1965.
The chilly weather combined with the pep band and cheerleaders made Friday’s event feel akin to a pep rally ahead of a big UD football game. But instead of celebrating a big game, the UD community celebrated the return of a big name, probably the biggest name in the history of the university, former Vice President Joe Biden.
“We are all honored to have Joe Biden back on campus,” UD President Dennis Assanis told the crowd who responded with big cheers. “He’s one of our most distinguished alumni ever. A lifelong public servant, a true Blue Hen.” The rally was occasionally punctuated by chants from the crowd of “Biden is back.”
Biden will run the Biden Institute out of UD’s School of Public Policy and Administration. Assanis said the institute will help students with whatever cause they care about or challenge they want to tackle. “We’ll need to know how to make your solutions work in the real world. That’s where public policy comes in,” Assanis said. “This is our time Delaware.”
Biden thanked Assanis for the opportunity to continue the work he did while in office at UD. “It’s good to be home,” Biden said. He reminisced about his time in Newark, including the times he was placed on social probation. “All I did was use a fire extinguisher on an RA. I don’t know what the hell the problem was,” Biden said to applause and laughs from students.
Biden also turned serious, talking about the support he received while at UD. “There are an awful lot of people here at this university including deans who not only believed in me, but made me believe in myself,” he said. “They made me believe that there wasn’t anything that I couldn’t do.”
In addition to the institute at UD, Biden will also lead the Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania. The UD institute will focus on domestic policy, while the Penn center will primarily look at foreign policy.
While he’ll split time between the two locations, it’s unlikely Biden will receive the same raucous reception when he arrives at Penn.