Biden partnering with UD to create research institute

Joe Biden

NEWARK — The University of Delaware on Tuesday announced a partnership with former Vice President Joe Biden to create a research entity concentrating on civil rights, economic reform and the environment, UD officials said.

Mr. Biden, 74, a Democrat who served as vice president of the United States from 2009 until last month and 36 years as a U.S. senator from Delaware before that, will chair the new Biden Institute.

The institute will be included in the university’s School of Public Policy and Administration and be located on campus.

“We’re very excited about this new relationship with Joe Biden, one of our most distinguished and loyal alumni,” university president Dennis Assanis said in a statement. “His vast experience as a public servant for more than 40 years will bring an important focus to many domestic policy matters to enhance the broader portfolio of programs within our school of public policy.

“His insight and experience will lend invaluable enhancement to programming, education and research initiatives as the University of Delaware helps shape the future leaders of our society.”

The university plans to expand its courses dealing with the environment and energy, social justice, disaster management and smart cities and will invite recognized experts on the subjects, officials said.

The Biden Institute will be geared toward several areas that Mr. Biden focused on during many years in elected office.

As a senator he served as chairman or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years. He also authored the 1994 Crime Act and the Violence Against Women Act.

Considered by some political observers to be one of the most influential vice presidents in history, Mr. Biden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in January. He is one of only four people to receive the medal with distinction.

A 1965 graduate of UD, Mr. Biden has spoken at the university’s commencement four times, most recently in 2014. He donated his senatorial papers to the University of Delaware Library in 2011 and was inducted into the Alumni Wall of Fame in 1984.

“Every day of my career in public service has been motivated by the desire to ensure that every American is treated with dignity and gets a fair shot,” Mr. Biden said in a statement. “I am happy to continue that work at my alma mater, a place that is stamped on my heart. I look forward to working with a top-notch policy staff at the Biden Institute to continue the hard work of developing public policy to benefit American families.”

It was also announced Tuesday the former vice president will lead the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.

Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at mbittle@newszap.com

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