Thursday, August 11, 2022

Biden answers The Review’s questions about commencement, the university and ice cream preferences

NewsCampus NewsBiden answers The Review's questions about commencement, the university and ice cream preferences
Joanna Lee/THE REVIEW
President Joe Biden speaks at the university’s commencement for the Class of 2022

The staff of The Review sent over questions to President Joe Biden as he prepared to speak at the university’s commencement on May 27. The following are the written responses returned from the President for several of our questions.

How does it feel to return back to your alma mater as the President of the United States?

It’s a tremendous honor to return to the place that has always meant so much to me and my family.  We not only received a world-class education, we made life-long friendships and graduated with the belief that we could do anything if we worked hard, including being elected President of the United States. For me, it’s always a privilege to celebrate this university and the students, faculty, staff, and alumni that make it so special.

Why did you choose to come back to speak at UD commencement?

No graduating class gets to choose the world into which it graduates, but some classes — every so often — enter at a point in our history where they actually have a chance to change the trajectory of our country and our world.  This generation of graduates faces such an inflection point. They have an opportunity to help all of us make extraordinary strides forward, and I’m honored to be invited to share my perspective on how to find that greater sense of meaning and purpose in life and in a career. 

How did your time at UD shape you into the person you have since become?

The University of Delaware did more than just educate me — it opened new doors for me, and gave me a greater sense of life’s possibilities during a challenging time in America.  Just a few years after I graduated, my two political heroes — Dr. King and Robert Kennedy — were both gunned down.  The Vietnam War was beginning to divide the nation and even divide families.  Important movements were beginning to emerge on behalf of civil rights, women’s rights, and environmental justice.  My time at Delaware gave me perspective on all of those events, and provided me with the belief that I could get involved and make a difference.

What growth do you hope to see at UD in the next several years?

It has been remarkable to see the way that UD has grown since my time as a student, and particularly over the last several years.  My hope for the university is that it continues to grow into the role I believe it has been cultivating for some time now — an institution that is synonymous with service in all its forms and engagement with the greatest issues facing the world.  Most of all, I hope that it continues to instill in young people the belief that there is no limit to what they can achieve.

What’s your fondest memory at UD?

There are far too many memories to choose just one – from playing on the football team to the friendships that continue today.  But some of the moments I’m most grateful for today have to do with the professors who did so much for me during my time at UD. Dr. Dolan, Dr. Igersoll, Dr. Munroe, Dr. Bennett, Dr. Bolinski, and many more. They instilled in me the confidence to believe that I could do anything, and helped me make sense of an uncertain world.

What do you think are the biggest issues facing recent college grads?

Our nation is still grappling with challenges that loom large for recent college graduates: rooting out systemic racism, tackling climate change, rebuilding our economy around dignity and equity for all Americans, and so much more.  We’ve made a lot of progress, but there is much more to be done — and this generation is going to play an essential role in moving us forward.

If you could give the Class of 2022 one piece of advice, what would it be?

Throughout our nation’s history, it has been young people — in every generation — who have overcome the thorniest challenges of every age, and expanded the possibilities of our nation. I would urge every member of the class of 2022: have confidence that you will do the same.

What is your favorite flavor of UDairy ice cream?

I’m usually partial to chocolate chip, but the UDairy Creamery doesn’t offer that flavor — I’ll be looking into an Executive Order to change that.  But it does have a mint chocolate chip that is up there with the best.

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