January 20, 2021

Dear UD Community,

Earlier today, Joseph R. Biden, Jr. — proud graduate of the University of Delaware Class of 1965 — was inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States of America. Holding the family Bible upon which President Biden took the Oath of Office was First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, who earned two degrees from UD. Undoubtedly, this is an incredible moment for all Blue Hens to celebrate the enduring and transformative power of a University of Delaware education.

The long histories of our institution and our nation are inextricably bound to one another — from our origins in the 1700s, through nearly three centuries of tumult and growth, to the challenges and opportunities of today. President Biden’s inauguration begins a new chapter in our shared story. Few universities can claim a President among their alumni, let alone one who served 36 years in the U.S. Senate and eight years as Vice President. My wife, Eleni, and I felt incredibly honored to represent the University of Delaware at the swearing-in ceremony. Sitting on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol and hearing the moving words of President Biden, we were filled with pride and inspiration for the boundless possibilities ahead, both for UD and for the United States. And it was a tremendous distinction for the UD Marching Band Drumline to escort the President and the First Lady to the White House, one of only two civilian groups participating in the day’s events — a historic opportunity to share our Blue Hen Pride with the world.

A University of Delaware education is uniquely suited for this moment in history. Our students and nearly 200,000 alumni around the globe are innovators and artists, creators and communicators, who are deeply engaged in addressing the scientific, technological, environmental and social problems facing the world. UD graduates achieve their goals, grounded by an education that helps them make sense of our complex society, develop the essential skills of democratic citizenship and address the pervasive issues of racism, inequality and injustice. With guidance from our distinguished faculty, our students not only acquire knowledge and understanding, but also seek truth and challenge — determined to make a difference in the world.

Enhancing this pursuit, we are fortunate to have the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration at UD, which is a leader in researching good governance and preparing students for public-service careers. And the Biden Institute is bringing together people from across the political spectrum to work on addressing complex domestic challenges through robust analysis and thoughtful dialogue.

The power of education — and especially an education at UD — relies on a commitment to explore ideas in an environment where everyone can encounter a diversity of perspectives, where we can engage in difficult but honest dialogue, and where we can all learn and grow.

Today, and every day, we can all take pride in the limitless potential of our students, the success of our alumni, and the scholarly excellence of our entire institution.

Congratulations, Mr. President and Madame First Lady, from all of us at your alma mater!


signature of President Dennis Assanis

Dennis Assanis

University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE   •   udel.edu/president