Vice President Joe Biden made a stop in his home state of Delaware on Saturday to deliver the commencement address to the 165th class of the University of Delaware.
Biden is the university’s most famous alum. He graduated in 1965 with a bachelor’s degree, double majoring in history and political science.
When Biden attended UD nearly 50 years ago, he said the country was in a period of transformation.
“Between the time I entered University of Delaware and graduated, the world had changed significantly,” Biden explained. “The nuclear arms race was in full swing with the Soviet Union. The Civil Rights Movement which got me engaged in public life to begin with, had turned even more violent, the war in Vietnam was beginning and by the time I graduated and got to law school, it had divided America like nothing since the Civil War.”
Biden said his college professors challenged and inspired him to take action and become a public servant.
“They helped me understand the change that was happening but most importantly they argued that it was in our power to fix America because of the incredible foundation in which this nation was built,” Biden said.
Biden went from local public defender to being elected one of the youngest U.S. Senators in the history of the country. He’s spent his political career fighting for a variety of social issues including equality and women’s rights.
President Barack Obama handpicked Biden as his vice president during the 2008 presidential campaign.
On Inauguration Day in 2009, Biden said he took a moment to reflect on the history he helped create.
“I was standing with my family and thousands upon thousand of Delawareans, waiting for a young black man, who was leaving Philadelphia on an Amtrak train, to pick me up to ride 124 miles where we’d both be sworn in as president and vice president of the United States of America.”
Biden encouraged the class of 2014 to both embrace and facilitate the change they wish to see in the world.
“The possibilities are unlimited and so are Americans so please don’t listen to the cynics, don’t let them tell you our the best days are behind us, we’re just starting and you’re going to change the world for us for the better,” Biden said.
The University of Delaware will award 5,500 degrees to the class of 2014.