Wednesday, July 6

Joe Biden’s commencement speech at University of Delaware graduation

  • President Joe Biden delivered a commencement address at his alma mater, the University of Delaware, on Saturday.
  • In his 28-minute speech, Biden addressed the recent mass shootings in Buffalo, New York and Uvalde, Texas.
  • The president is scheduled to travel to Uvalde on Sunday, to meet with the families of victims of Tuesday’s shooting.

NEWARK, Del. — On a Sunday afternoon in June 1965, research scientist Caryl Haskins addressed 1,038 University of Delaware graduates sitting in folding chairs on the campus mall.

Among the graduates was Joseph R. Biden Jr., a history and political science major.

Haskins encouraged the graduates to explore the new careers proffered by the scientific revolution while warning of the potential pitfalls of a world too far adrift from spiritual values ​​and “humanistic endeavor.”

Fifty-seven years later Biden returned to Newark in Haskins’ place, addressing graduates from his alma mater for the first time as the 46th President of the United States.

His message Saturday was one often recited at graduation ceremonies, but delivered with the force of the White House seal. The class of 2022 is entering the world at a pivotal moment and have the power to decide “who we are” as a nation.

“The challenges are immense, foreign and domestic, but so are the possibilities,” Biden said.

President Joe Biden delivers his keynote address to the University of Delaware Class of 2022 during its commencement ceremony in Newark, Del., Saturday, May 28, 2022. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Biden took the stage at Delaware Stadium south of the university’s main campus to loud applause sporting his signature aviator sunglasses under sunny skies. The morning’s presenters filled their remarks with references to Biden’s career accomplishments – with many noting that any of the 6,411 graduates could be the second University of Delaware alum to become president.

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In the course of his 28-minute speech, Biden told the story of a small-town Delaware kid who barely made it through school and was never pegged as the nation’s next leader. His Claymont family struggled to meet the $300 tuition for him and his sister, Valerie, he said.

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Of his sister, who now chairs the public policy institute at the University of Delaware that bears their family name, Biden said, “she graduated with honors, I graduated.”

President Joe Biden delivers the main address during the University of Delaware's 2022 Commencement at Delaware Stadium, Saturday, May 28, 2022.

Biden, who once spent his days rehearsing lines about the Phillies to use on his paper route to work through a stuttersaid his time in college gave him the confidence to seek public office and begin making changes during the civil rights era.

Today, Biden said, America faces many similar challenges as “forces of evil” impede progress on many fronts.

Biden made reference to the recent shootings at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas where 21 people died, including 19 children, and at The Tops Friendly Market in Buffalo, New York where 10 people were killed.

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