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Inauguraton 2009
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More about UD alumnus Joe Biden >>UD Celebrates the Inauguration of Vice President Joe Biden
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The State

Members of the UD community attending the inauguration of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden share their reactions to the historic event.

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The State

University of Delaware students braved the cold Saturday morning to attend a whistle stop gathering at the Wil- mington Train Station.

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The State

The University of Delaware Marching Band participated in the inaugural parade, bringing Blue Hen spirit to Washington, D.C.

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The State

Inauguration 2009 is an historic moment for the University of Delaware, as President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, a UD alumnus, take office. Check this page throughout inauguration day, and throughout the week, for updates from University of Delaware students, faculty and staff who attended inaugural events and share their thoughts.


Pat Harker Pat Harker


11:47 a.m., Jan. 21, 2009
Today Emily and I woke up a bit tired yet still filled with hope and anticipation for our nation and our state after yesterday’s events. What a day!

For us, the day began at 12:01 a.m. with the swearing in of Governor Markell and Lt. Governor Denn at Mitchell Hall. UD was honored to have the new governor on campus, and we look forward to working with him and his administration to move Delaware forward.

Once this was over, we drove through the middle of the night to stay with family in Virginia. After a few hours of sleep, Emily and I departed for D.C. via the Metro with the masses all filled with good cheer and enthusiasm. Despite the ongoing “trains are filled to capacity” announcements, the riders broadcast their own “there’s always room for one more” so we all could make it into the city in time for all of the festivities.

We were privileged to attend the pre-inauguration prayer service at St. John’s Episcopal Church on Lafayette Square, opposite the White House. This was a moving experience that underscored the challenges that President Obama and Vice President Biden face both domestically and abroad, and the need for all of us to come together and to pray for strength and wisdom for our new leaders.

It was then off to the actual inauguration! Getting there was tough as the city was teeming with people. The Delaware contingent was there to support our native son and daughter as Joe Biden, Class of ’65, stood at the podium with Dr. Jill Biden, Class of '75 and Class of ‘06, to take the oath of office. What a great moment! And to share this moment with friends and colleagues from Delaware made it all the better (plus a little added excitement at having Oprah and others right there!).

President Obama’s speech was a call to action, a call to get involved to make a real difference in our nation and the world. This is not only a call to us as individuals, but to UD as an institution. Universities, including UD, will play a crucial role in renewing our nation. “Engagement, impact, creating a diverse community, global understanding, excellence in all that we do.” These are not just the headlines of our strategic plan, but they are the critical areas we need to continue to focus on in moving UD forward on our path, and they are essential if we are to play our part in heeding the President’s call to make a real difference, to serve.

The day ended for us as it began, joining the throngs at the Metro, this time back to Virginia after the Biden Home States Ball, where we celebrated the moment one last time with our fellow Delawareans. Physically weary from little sleep and miles of walking, but with spirits charged with excitement and hope, we took this time to reflect on the Vice President’s last words of the evening: "Enjoy tonight because tomorrow we have to begin to rebuild America."

There is a lot of work ahead of us, as a nation and here at UD. Sometimes, the challenges facing us seem overwhelming. And they are if we attempt to face them alone. What was shown today, however, is that Americans want to work together, to squeeze in to make room for one more on the journey, to depend on and inspire each other, engaged and energized to renew our nation. This is the same spirit we will need at UD to face our challenges and to seize our opportunities to better serve our students, our state and the world.


Matthew Kinservik Matthew Kinservik

Professor of English

10:52 a.m., Jan. 21, 2009
I was on the West Lawn of the Capitol in the ticketed area just behind the seated section. I had a clear view of the podium for the ceremony (although the protective glass made it difficult to see the people on stage). Happily, there was a Jumbotron just off to the right side. I was right up by the fence, so I got to gawk at the celebrities as they filed into the seated area. These included General Wesley Clark, Larry David, Spike Lee and Bruce Springsteen.

The crowds everywhere were massive. I stayed with a friend in Rockville the night before and took the Metro into D.C. on inauguration day. My journey started at 6 a.m. and I didn’t get into position on the Capitol lawn until 10 a.m., so a journey that should have taken about 45 minutes took me four hours!

The experience was very crowded and very cold, but even so, the day was characterized by a pervasive sense of joy. When I got to the Metro station before daybreak, an elderly African-American woman walking next to me said, “I’m from Florida, so this is a pilgrimage for me today.” Another woman in front of us turned around and said, “Oh, you poor baby, you must be so cold.” But the Floridian replied, “Not today. Nope. I’m not gettin’ cold today!” And that about says it all.

After the ceremony ended, I headed north of the Capitol to escape the crush on the Mall. I got stopped at a street corner by security guards and police who were making way for a motorcade. I was right on the edge of the curb when the motorcycle cops zoomed past, followed by a big, black SUV and then a limousine with lightly shaded windows. In the backseat was Dick Cheney, waving gamely to the crowd as he was whisked out of town. Then, as I stepped off the curb, Marine One flew overhead to land on the Capitol lawn and take George W. Bush away, too. So because of the route I took away from the ceremony, I got to see all elements of the transfer of power—and it was good!


Nancy Targett Nancy Targett

Dean, College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment

9:35 p.m., Jan. 20, 2009
We left Newark at 4:30 a.m. to get a MARC train from Baltimore at 7 a.m. Traffic on 95 headed to Washington was already getting heavy. There were lots of buses! At Penn Station in Baltimore everything was really well organized to deal with the expected crowds. When we arrived in Washington, the crush of humanity and the celebration of diversity was amazing. In the area where we were, people chatted as we waited in long lines. People around us had traveled long distances to be part of this inauguration (Kansas, Texas, Colorado, London, England, New York and, of course, Delaware!). The palpable feeling in the crowd was pride in our democracy and hope for the future. It was simply a great day.


Joan DelFattore Joan DelFattore

Professor of English

9:34 p.m., Jan. 20, 2009
I’ve attended two other inaugurations, and I’ve been in Times Square on New Year’s Eve, but I’ve never seen a crowd any more dense than this. People were being held up at the top of the Metro escalators because the platforms were full, and no one else could be allowed in the station until the platforms had cleared. People were standing in line just to cross the street. The mood was so strongly upbeat that people didn’t seem to mind. I was one of the last people who got through into the Blue section before they closed the gates. I couldn’t see much, but at 5’2”, that’s not so much an event as a state of being. The sound was clear, and I did catch a few glimpses. When Senator Biden was sworn in, I have to say that I found it moving. Like a few thousand other Delawareans, I’ve had several chances to talk with him and have run into him at countless events. What I was thinking when he took the oath was “Good luck, Senator. Do your damnedest, and come back safe.” It’s going to be hard to remember to call him something else: “Senator” is practically his first name. During the couple of hours of waiting on line to go through security, people were talking about Obama in a way that almost worries me because they expect so much of him. One woman, after complaining about Obama’s choice of Reverend Rick Warren to say a prayer, then said, “But I’m sure that if Barack could do it over, he would choose someone else. He just didn’t realize that we’d be upset.” I haven’t heard that level of forgiveness or faith with respect to a political leader since John F. Kennedy was elected. In fact, this whole thing reminds me a bit of the Kennedy times. I was a student in a Catholic elementary school when he was elected, and of course there was controversy over his being a Catholic. When he won, the nuns – and we kids – were ecstatic. One of US was president! And for a while, at least, he could do no wrong. Kennedy was the first president I ever saw in person, and Obama does have the same ability to connect to an audience. To state the obvious, the Obama administration is bound to hit some rough spots, and no doubt some of the problems they’ll face will be of their own making. No one can live up to what people seem to think that Obama can do. Nevertheless, despite the healthy cynicism I’ve developed after years of doing research on legal and political matters, I was caught up in the moment when first Biden and then Obama were sworn in. They pronounced those oaths with feeling, as if they really mean to try to make things better. Whatever the ultimate results may turn out to be, I think they’re going to work their little hearts out.


UD Band UDMB offers views of inauguration

University of Delaware Marching Band members comment on the inauguration through text messages to campus:

Nadia Lepori-Bui -- 12:41 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 21
I just got home. Altogether it was a fun, freezing and stressful trip. I didn't get to see Obama and I might have lost a few toes, but it was good to reconnect with the trumpet section and when we were warm it was super fun.

Alex Blau -- 10:24 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
OK. Just got back to UD. That all went by very fast but it was sure a whole lot of fun! I'm really exhausted now though. If I didn't have class tomorrow, I would probably sleep for a good 12 hours. I'm gonna have some really good stories tomorrow.

Jamie Shea -- 7:32 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
We stood around a lot. There was a huge delay in the parade so we waited for a really long time. It was worth it though to see the new president and vice president and perform for them.

Jason Angelo -- 6:15 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
Yay! We’re all miserable and cold and tired and hungry…it was awesome but ridiculously tiring and we probably won't get home until early tomorrow morning.

Andrew Tremblay -- 5:57 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
So we are finally back to the buses. It feels so good to sit down again. Time to thaw out… And what an adventure today was. The crowd had, unfortunately, mostly left due to the long delay. But it was still a huge honor to play in front of President Obama and Vice President Biden. What a privilege and an experience, to be a part of such a historic event. Even with the cold weather, long waits, and sparse crowd, today was more than memorable.

Alex Blau -- 5:53 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
We just finished!! Joe Biden had the biggest smile on his face and was waving to us the whole time.


Joan DelFattore Joan DelFattore

Professor of English

4:00 p.m., Jan. 20, 2009
I arrived in time to see Joe Biden sworn in as vice president. Having known Senator Biden for many years, as has everyone in Delaware, it was really very moving to see him sworn in as vice president. It makes it more real when it is someone you know. When Barack Obama took the oath, the people screamed and screamed. It was very exciting.


UD Band UDMB offers views of inauguration

University of Delaware Marching Band members comment on the inauguration through text messages to campus:

Andrew Tremblay -- 3:44 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
There appears to be a delay in the start of the parade. We were slowly but surely moving closer to the start, but have been standing around in the same place for quite some time. Despite the wait, everyone is keeping in good spirits. A few of the band members have even started befriending the policemen on the side of the road. Rumor is that we should be moving soon, though.

Image from cell phone.

Andrew Tremblay -- 2:24 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
We're marching down Constitution Avenue. The parade is about to begin!

Andrew Tremblay -- 1:21 p.m, Tuesday, Jan. 20
To the warm up area we go. Almost show time!

Heather O'Mara -- 1 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
We just watched the inauguration inside a heated tent. We're going to warm up soon and head on out. This whose thing has been a surreal experience.

Andrew Tremblay -- 12:53 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
I wasn't expecting to be able to watch the inaugural ceremony, so that was really exciting. Watching the swearing in of both Obama and Biden, as well as President Obama's speech, really put things in perspective. Man, does he know how to give a good speech! Being a part of this historic event is such a privilege.

Jamie Shea -- 11:37 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
We are in a warming tent watching the inauguration on TV. We're marching after the ceremony in the second division, after the Marines and firefighters.

Alex Blau -- 11:36 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
We're in a huge tent outside the White House now. They have TV's set up for us to watch. It's getting exciting!

Andrew Tremblay -- 11:26 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
Holy cow, has the inaugural committee prepared for us today! First, free breakfast and lunch. Now, we're sitting in a heated tent with chairs, tables, a live video and audio feed of all of the inauguration events and free hot chocolate! When I thought of the holding tent, I did not expect this. So far, this has been an amazing experience.

Jamie Shea -- 11:08 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
There are so many people here. Where the monument is, there is a flood of people all around it. You can't even see the ground. I have no idea what the Mall and the front of the Capitol looks like. It's insane!

Harold Gibbons -- 10:49 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
No exaggeration, I can see 1 million people from where the buses are parked.

Andrew Tremblay -- We just passed by the Washington Monument. Oh, wow. There are SO many people out on the Mall. I have never seen so many people in one place at one time. Wow! The people are literally packed like sardines. And it's everywhere, on the streets, too. It's literally a mass of people. We're about to get off the bus to head to a waiting area, the warming tents. 10:49 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20

Andrew Mauro -- 8:42 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
Went through security. Pretty standard and easy. They gave us food. The muffin was exceptional. Waiting to get somewhere else.

Jamie Shea -- 8:18 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
We are at the Pentagon and just went through security. There were metal detectors and a police dog and we all got cleared really quickly. Everyone went through and they screened our instruments, and then we waited for the buses to be screened and searched, and now we are sitting on them for a while until we can move to the parade site.

Nadia Lepori-Bui -- 7:49 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
We are going through security and it is really flipping, stinking cold.

Ezekiel Tulenko -- 6:38 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
Tired and crashing from energy drink Security check is slow. Having a blast so far.

Alex Blau -- 5:49 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
We're on the bus now. Traffic is not bad at all. The band has two military escorts with us.

Nadia Lepori-Bui -- 5:41 a.m., Tuesday, Jan.20
Hey, we're awake! The feelings are excitement even thought at first grouchiness at having to wake up. But now we're just pumped! We're gonna see the president!

Andrew Mauro -- 4:04 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
We woke at 3 and have been slowly getting dressed. I have three socks, two Under Armor pants, one pair of athletic pants, three under Armor shirts, a fleece and my uniform on, plus some ear muffs.

Heather O'Mara -- 3:16 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 20
It's 3 a.m. We've just been woken up by a basketball buzzer. Lots of energy around here.


Joan DelFattore Joan DelFattore

Professor of English

6:16 p.m., Jan. 19, 2009
So far, it took me almost two hours just to walk from Union Station to Sen. Carper’s office to pick up my tickets and then back to Union Station to get on the Red Line. People were standing on long lines just to get on escalators, across streets and into buildings. And that’s today! Imagine what tomorrow will be like.



Two busloads of University of Delaware students braved icy temperatures early Saturday morning on Jan. 17, to make their way to the Wilmington Train Station, where Barack Obama and Joe Biden had a whistle stop visit in advance of inauguration ceremonies on Tuesday, Jan. 20, in Washington, D.C.

As the train traveled to Baltimore, many well-wishers, including UD President Patrick Harker, watched it speed by the Newark Train Station.

Wilmington photos by Tyler Jacobson;
Newark photos by Maryanne Brown-MacKay.


Maarching Band

The University of Delaware Marching Band is participating in the inaugural parade in Washington, D.C. UDMB Director Heidi Sarver is providing updates at this Twitter page. Band member Christine Scheirer is also updating on this Twitter page.

The UDMB had rehearsal on Monday, Jan. 19, then set out by bus for W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax, Va., where they were greeted by the University's District of Columbia Alumni Club and spent the night. Here are their thoughts:

Andrew Tremblay -- 9:16 p.m., Monday, Jan. 19
Now that our feast of delicious pizza has finished, most of us have retired to our luxurious sleeping chamber -- the gym. Sleeping on a gym floor is actually ot nearly as bad as it sounds and being here will help us get to D.C. much quicker tomorrow.

Andrew Tremblay -- 7:27 p.m., Monday, Jan. 19
We just finished unloading everything from the buses now. Greeting us as we arrived here were members of the D.C. chapter of the UD Alumni Associaiton, who were great and gave out a huge variety of snacks. Yum.

Andrew Tremblay -- 4:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 19
Our rehearsals went really well. The band got back into the swing of things surprisingly quickly and is performing at a really high level. Everyone is focused on the task at hand and we're definitely ready to represent UD with pride. We're loading the buses now, about to head to Virginia to stay overnight. And just as I typed that, we started moving. Here we go!

Jamie Shea -- 11:59 a.m., Monday, Jan. 19
The snow is pretty, but cold. At least it is better than rain. Band sounds good. The song is really coming together and our marching is looking great.

Harold Gibbons -- 11:53 a.m., Monday, Jan. 19
So despite the cold, it feels awesome to play with the line and hear the band.