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Honorary Degree Citation for Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Click here for low-resolution video from UD’s 155th Commencement. 

Click here for high-resolution video from UD’s 155th Commencement.

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About UD’s 155th Commencement

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Commencements past

2:50 p.m., May 29, 2004--Tireless public servant, you have served your native state of Delaware for more than 34 years, first on the New Castle County Council and then as United States Senator. First elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972, you are currently serving in your sixth six-year term in office. Through years of dedicated service, you have earned recognition and respect as one of the most valued voices on national security and civil liberties, and you have gained national and international acclaim as a policy innovator and advocate on a wide range of important issues. You have served the nation and the world with an inspiring sense of duty and honor. You have upheld the public trust and advanced the common good of our global community—people both known and unknown to you--with a legacy of commitment and service.

Internationally recognized foreign policy leader, you are the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and serve as the party’s chief spokesman on national security and policy issues. You are regularly briefed by the President’s National Security Advisor as well as the Secretaries of Defense and State, the FBI, and intelligence agencies. You have crafted and introduced significant legislation including bills to curb bioterrorism and the worldwide spread of infectious diseases, and protecting America against nuclear and radiological terror. Your understanding of the international community has gained you bipartisan respect as a global citizen. Deep regard for all persons is a hallmark of your work in the Senate, and the effects of that work reach every element of human interaction

Defender of the victimized and disenfranchised, you introduced the critical Violence Against Women Act of 2000 also known as the Biden Crime Law, creating billions of dollars in federal funds to address gender-based crimes. In addition, you have introduced the Violence Against Children Act, designed to bring about a centered focus and coordinated response to help end all child abuse. The bill will help prevent crimes against children, treat child victims, and prosecute those who harm our nation’s children. And, you have an established record of accomplishment in passing legislation to combat drugs including bills on the crackdown of promoters of the drug trade, getting help for addicts to kick their habits, and getting more people into drug abuse treatment programs. As the top Democrat on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Victims Rights, you have been instrumental in crafting nearly every major piece of crime legislation for the last ten years.

Respected environmentalist, you led the Senate with important legislation for work in environmental protection and education policy. Your work in this area over the past 20 years has led to the end of federal control and the return to Delawareans of more than 1,180 acres of beach shoreline along the Delaware coast. In 2000, your decades-long efforts culminated with establishment of Delaware's first and only National Wild and Scenic River--the White Clay Creek Watershed--which will be preserved and saved from development for future generations.

Native son of the First State, you were born in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated from Archmere Academy and the University of Delaware. Your life’s work has been marked by your advocacy of this small but critically linked state and you have added significantly to the Diamond State’s luster. You have held high your treasured degree from the University of Delaware. You have returned here on numerous occasions to speak to students in small groups and large and you have inspired them with your insight and perspective. Recently, you hosted our national championship football team in Washington where you said (and I quote): “I stand here with great pride that my alma mater, the University of Delaware, has won the national championship for NCAA Division 1-AA football.” Our team and our University community are as proud of you as you are of them.

Senator Biden, institutions tell the world what they stand for and strive for by honoring those whose lives reflect the finest values that inspires them. And we do so at this moment.

And now, under the authority of the Board of Trustees of the University of Delaware, I have the pleasure and honor of conferring upon you, Joseph R. Biden, Jr., the degree of Doctor of Laws and do declare you entitled to all the rights, honors and privileges to that degree appertaining throughout the world. In testimony thereof, I am pleased to present you the diploma.

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