Honorary Chairs

Joseph R. Biden Jr. ’65 and Jill T. Biden ’75 ’06EdD

Among the most celebrated alumni of this generation, for decades the Bidens have been beacons of light as advocates of education, economic opportunity and social justice.

Dr. Jill Biden often says being a teacher isn’t just what she does — it’s who she is. She spent over three decades teaching in community colleges, high schools, and a psychiatric hospital for adolescents. She has two master’s degrees — both of which she earned while working and raising a family — and she earned her Doctorate in Education from the University of Delaware in January of 2007. Her dissertation focused on maximizing student retention in community colleges.  Today, she continues to teach at a community college in Northern Virginia — a position she held throughout her time in the White House — and is the honorary chair of the College Promise National Advisory Board, leading the effort to make community colleges free for responsible students.  As a military mom, Dr. Biden understands the experiences of military families: supporting their service members, feeling incredible pride for their work, and carrying the fear that comes with this sacrifice.  Dr. Biden has also been a prominent voice on the rights and welfare of women and girls, especially as related to education.

As a senator from Delaware for 36 years, Joe Biden established himself as a leader in tackling some of our nation’s most important domestic and international challenges. As Chairman or Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 12 years, then-Senator Biden played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy.  He has been at the forefront of issues and legislation related to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, post-Cold War Europe, the Middle East, and Southwest Asia.  In 2008, he became the 47th vice president of the United States, building on his legacy of public service for two terms under President Barack Obama.  As Vice President, Biden continued his passionate leadership on critical issues facing the nation and represented the United States abroad, traveling more than 1.2 million miles to more than 50 countries. He convened sessions of the President’s Cabinet, led interagency efforts, and worked with Congress in his fight to raise the living standards of middle class Americans, reduce gun violence, address violence against women, and end cancer as we know it. A frequent visitor to UD’s campus, Biden received the UD Alumni Wall of Fame award in 1984 and has delivered four Commencement addresses. In 2017, he founded the Biden Institute at UD as a world-class intellectual center and destination for scholars, activists, policymakers and national leaders. His legacy was further solidified at UD when, in December 2018, UD’s School of Public Policy and Administration was renamed the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration (Biden School).

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