Widener Law Reacts to Obama’s Selection of Senator Biden as his Running Mate
Web Editor - Published: August 28, 2008

biden campus reacts small“I was ecstatic. There was cheering in my house. We were praying for Biden,” says Evan Liu, a former student who took Senator Biden’s Issues in Constitutional Law Seminar in the fall of 2005 and who is now an associate at the law firm of Feldman, Shepherd, Wohlgelernter, Tanner, Weinstock & Dodig in Philadelphia. Liu’s reaction to Senator Obama’s selection of Biden as his running mate is a typical one around the Delaware campus of Widener Law, where Senator Biden has served as an adjunct faculty member since 1991.

“It’s tremendously exciting. Of course, the students and I are very disappointed that we may not see Senator Biden much this semester. But his selection is a great thing for the school, a great thing for Delaware, and in my view, a truly great thing for our country,” says Professor Robert Hayman, who has co-taught the seminar with the Senator since 2003. Widener Law’s Dean, Linda L. Ammons, said of Senator Biden, “He brings to this campus expertise in terms of his years as a Senator, his world view, and his great teaching that our students have been exposed to over these many years. We are fortunate to have someone of his caliber on our teaching staff.”

Listen to Dean Ammons:

Courtney McGinnis, another former student in Biden’s Issues in Constitutional Law Seminar says of the news, “I am very excited about Barack Obama's decision to ask Senator Biden to join his team.  When his name first surfaced, I was not sure whether Senator Biden would accept the nomination as he is deeply attached to representing the state of Delaware in the Senate.  I was proud of his decision to expand his record of public service to all Americans by accepting the nomination for Vice-President.”

“I was jumping up and down, pinching myself. I couldn’t believe it,” proclaims Elsie Klein, a technical services assistant in the Legal Information Center who has known the Senator for more than thirty years after serving as a volunteer on his first senate campaign in 1972. “When he talks to you, he makes you feel like you’re very special. That’s his charm,” she adds. Senator Biden attended the wedding of Elsie’s niece Lisa Borin, a lawyer who works for Senator Biden as a Legislative Director. With a smile, Elsie says, “At the wedding, he said to everyone; In case you don’t know who I am, I’m Senator Biden, and I work for Lisa Borin.”

Many people were more than eager to share their personal recollections of Senator Biden. Elsie described one particularly amusing incident, saying, “He was coming to his office one year, and he walked by and saw the Biden campaign signs up in my office. Apparently, he asked whose office it was, and when he found out it was mine, he had someone let him in, and he left me a note on a brown paper bag.”
Certainly, Senator Biden’s impact on the students he has taught cannot be underestimated. “It was such a rare opportunity to have someone of that stature teach us, and it was good to see the human side of the people that run our government,” remarks Evan Liu, adding, “He was so down to earth and relatable. What you see is what you get. He was incredibly passionate about the issues in constitutional law, and that he was willing to sit down and share that was great. Working with Senator Biden and Bob Hayman was amazing. They compliment each other so well.” Courtney McGinnis adds, “As a professor, Senator Biden surprised me. I took the class expecting him to be a typical Washington politician who would want students to reiterate his philosophies and serve as a reflection of himself rather than a scholar interested in the divergent viewpoints of the individuals in the class.  Senator Biden encouraged us to argue against his points and delighted as we increased our abilities to debate.   I think the thing that impressed me the most, however, was how seriously he took the commitment to teach us.”

Remarking on what the future might hold, Professor Hayman says, “Senator Biden has a genuine passion for the Constitution. We see it in the classroom, as well in his ‘day job’. ”