Salve Regina celebrates the University’s unique connection to the Bidens
As the Presidential Inauguration for Joe Biden draws near, what many in the University community might not know is that Dr. Jill Biden once gave Salve Regina’s commencement address. She spoke at the commencement for Salve Regina’s class of 2011 on May 15, 2011, and she also received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.
The Bidens knew Senator Claiborne Pell and his wife Nuala — which the Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy is dedicated to — and Dr. Biden mentions a funny story about Pell in her commencement speech.
“Many of you wouldn’t know this, but I’m an avid runner, so I always bring my running gear with me wherever I go,” said Biden. “Senator Pell once saw me dressed for a run and asked if he could join me. I said of course he could. But I was quite surprised when … he showed up in an oxford button-down shirt, Bermuda shorts, black socks and black leather shoes.”
Dr. Biden is herself an educator, and she taught English and reading in high schools for 13 years, as well as adolescents with emotional disabilities at a psychiatric hospital. She has been an English and writing instructor at Delaware Technical & Community College and a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College. She is thought to be the first wife of a vice president to hold a paying job during her husband’s tenure, and she will still work full time even as the First Lady.
“People often ask me why I teach, and my answer to this is simple: it’s you. It’s the students,” said Biden in her speech in 2011. “Tales are often told of teachers inspiring students, but I find it is more often the other way around: my students have inspired me, each and every day. And I bet your professors here would say the same thing about you….”
To listen to the entire commencement speech that Jill Biden gave in 2011, watch the video below. A full transcript of the speech can also be found here.