NEWARK — “Biden is back!” screamed a crowd of about 2,500 University of Delaware students and faculty as former Vice President Joe Biden took the stage at the University of Delaware.
The event, held on April 8, not only celebrated the return of an alumnus, but also kicked off the establishment of the Biden Institute.
The Biden Institute will be an addition to the school’s public policy department where topics such as the environment, criminal law, women’s rights, LGBT rights, civil rights, foreign policy and more will be discussed.
“Ladies and gentlemen, the Biden Institute is going to constitute a serious academic and social engagement that has animated my entire political life,” former Vice President Biden said.
University of Delaware President Dennis Assanis also spoke during the assembly, enthusiastically saying students, “will get to work with the former vice president of the United States. Someone who knows public policy better than everybody.”
The longtime politician was introduced onto the UD stage by Student Government Association President Matt Rojas and Laura Askin, a graduate student in the School of Public Policy and Administration.
The university’s students showed their Biden pride at the event as they wore blue and white “Biden is Back” T-shirts.
Former VP Biden donned a UD quarter zip and navy blue Delaware baseball cap as he approached the podium.
He recalled memories of his time at the school prior to his 1965 graduation.
He rattled off the names of professors — Bennett, Dolan and Ingersoll — who had an impact on him.
“They instilled on me the notion that I not only could do something important, but that I had an obligation to be engaged,” former Vice President Biden said.
He had a message for the students in attendance.
“You are turned off by it (politics),” he said. “My job is to turn you onto it because we need you.”