VP Biden to Speak at Syracuse Commencement

By Virginia Breen

Mar 5, 2009 2:21pm

ABC News On Campus reporters Torie Wells and Meghan Lisson blog: Syracuse University senior Christine Meglino has been waiting for weeks to hear about her class’s  graduation speaker.  Now that she knows, she’s surprised.  “I just didn’t believe that the vice president of the United States had time to speak at a graduation,” she said. Syracuse University’s Web site announced Wednesday that the 2009 commencement speaker would be Vice President Joe Biden, an alum of Syracuse Law School. Since Meglino is a television, radio and film major, she was hoping for someone from the entertainment world, such as Tina Fey.  And she’s not the only one. "I was misinformed," senior Akiko Matsumoto said, laughing.  "I heard that Tina Fey was the top candidate for the commencement speaker — and this is in the height of my ’30 Rock’ obsession — so I was really excited about it."  But that’s not to say she’s not looking forward to the big moment on graduation day. "When I heard that Joe Biden was going to be the commencement speaker," Matsumoto said, "I was thrilled because he is the vice president and he is an alum of Syracuse University. He’s really an example for me." Students aren’t the only ones gearing up for Biden’s visit.  Faculty and families are also sharing the anticipation. "My dad is really into politics, and I know he’s going to be really excited," she said.  "I bet he’s not only going to be watching me but keeping tabs on Joe Biden too." Meglino agreed. “I’m happy with Biden, because I feel like I will get something out of his speech,” she said.  “And my parents will enjoy it too.” This isn’t the first time Biden has made his way back to the Syracuse hill since he graduated in 1968.  He gave the keynote address for SU Law commencements in 1994, 2002 and 2006.  He also received the George Arents Pioneer Medal, SU’s highest alumni award, in 2005. Now that he’s made it to the White House, Biden’s appearance has become an even bigger deal.  Senior Terry Rutt said he hadn’t planned to attend the graduation ceremony, but after this announcement, he’s rethinking that decision. “I’m really into politics, and I think it will be a pretty historic speech for my lifetime at least,” he said.  “And there’s also a small chance I might attend Syracuse Law, so that would be doubly important.” Rutt said he thinks students who aren’t interested in Biden’s speech will still be intrigued because of his celebrity status.  And that may be true.  Several students have expressed their excitement and surprise in their AOL Instant Messenger away message and status updates on Facebook.  The commencement speech will be given May 10 in the Carrier Dome.

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