(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden knows something about the expense of a college education, and, as he pointed out in Monday's University of Pennsylvania commencement address, he knows something about honorary degrees, too.
"As I was saying to my co-honorees today, this is a much cheaper way to get a degree, isn't it?" he asked to laughter.
Biden noted the years his three children had spent at several universities, and that his granddaughter had just completed her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania.
And he called for the class of 2013 to "show us what you can do because you will be able to do more and live through a period of change more rapid and exciting than any generation in the history of the world."
"My generation heard the same voices of doom and despair that your generation hears today," he said. "American decline. America's lost its way. Whither America. But those voices do not and did not understand that in both instances, yours and mine, we graduated into a world that had changed."
As to the traditional responsibility of a commencement speaker - offering advice to the graduates - Biden said he was too wise to attempt offering advice.