May 10th, 2009
05:12 PM ET
11 years ago

Biden tells graduating students to remain optimistic

Vice President Biden spoke Sunday at Syracuse University's graduation ceremony.

Vice President Biden spoke Sunday at Syracuse University's graduation ceremony.

Syracuse, NY (CNN ) - Vice President Joe Biden delivered the commencement address to the class of 2009 at Syracuse University Sunday, telling students to remain optimistic despite the challenges the country faces.

Biden compared today's challenges, such as the weak job market the 3,400 graduating students are facing, to those his generation dealt with - such as
the Vietnam War, race riots and political upheaval.

He noted that just three days after he graduated on the same field where he was speaking, Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Biden is a 1968 graduate of Syracuse College of Law.

He called on the students to embrace the challenging times as an opportunity to make real change in the world.

"Throughout the span of history, only a handful of us ever get a chance to actually shape the course of history," he said.

Biden's remarks were well received by the crowd of nearly 20,000 people.

"He was really passionate talking about how this is the time to make a change, and we are the kids who are actually going to do it," said Adam Teitelbaum, a finance and entrepreneurship major.

The university presented Biden with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Biden also wished all of the mothers in the crowd a Happy Mother's Day and offered the graduates one of his favorite lines:

"If at first you don't succeed, do it like your mom told you."

Filed under: Joe Biden
soundoff (13 Responses)
  1. Chance

    He should tell the to prepare to pay back debt, because that's the only thing they will have in abundance and if they can't they can always pass them to the next generation...

    May 10, 2009 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. David

    Go Joe!

    May 10, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. I laugh at Limbaugh daily

    Poor Joe,his mom should have told him not to talk and chew gum at the same time,but I like Joe,he has skills.

    May 10, 2009 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. cindy

    I have always like Joe Biden. He may have his gaffes, so what, he's human! The man has dedicated most of his life to service for his country. That makes me proud to call him Vice President Biden. Darth Cheney spent his whole time in politics trying to screw the nation. Big difference there. Go Joe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 10, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. Richard A. Spomer, Alexandria, VA

    V.P. Biden,

    wants the spring graduating class of 2009 to be optimistic; all President Obama has too do is pass another stimulus bill to forgive any and all student loans, which will not, can not, should not help the unemployment record or the possibilities of getting a job after graduation in your field of expertise.

    Know how to tell if or when a lawyer is lying; WHEN HIS LIPS ARE MOVING!

    May 10, 2009 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    .....and for God sake, stay patriotic. The government needs the tax revenue!! 🙂

    May 10, 2009 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. Linda

    Remain optimistic=remain delusional.

    Nice try Biden. Oh, right, you were speaking at one of the liberal institutes of dumbed-down learning; It should work.

    May 10, 2009 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. Gilley in PA

    Well, he's right... I'm sure many of them will be pretty pessimistic when they can't find a job due to Obama's policies.

    May 10, 2009 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  9. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    A President Obama and Vice President Biden have the responsibility of speaking to college graduates upon graduating and encouraging our youth because they themselves are education achievers. Can you image McCain or Palin standing before college graduates, I can't, education is not important to either of them and they have resumes supporting that.

    May 10, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  10. Democrat thugs

    Biden is a small intellect on a large stage. God help us all.

    May 10, 2009 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    The biggest challenge facing this year's college graduates is the staggering debt being imposed on them by Biden's partner in the profligacy, Obama. They're going to spend their entire working lives either paying off this ridiculous "bailout" or suffering under the ruin of the American economy left over by Bush and Obama.

    May 10, 2009 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. Millie McGuire

    Joe Biden did not succeed. He did not run for Vice-President, remember? He ran for President.

    May 10, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  13. anita

    Oprah wa the commencement speaker for Duke University.
    She certainly didn't pass up this opportunity to be a braggart, "the Jet".
    Her speech was just uninspiring, even when she addressed the graduates. She needed a TELEPROMPTER and a speech writer.

    May 10, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |