The University of Delaware unveiled a name change this week, honoring one of the school’s most famous alumni and his lifetime of public service. The University’s prestigious public policy institute will now be called the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration (Biden School).
Biden earned his bachelor’s degree from UD in 1965 before embarking on a 36-year tenure as a U.S. senator and eight years as the 47th vice president of the United States. He told Trustees, faculty members and students on Tuesday that UD holds a special place in his heart.
“It instilled in me the belief that I could make a difference and inspired me to live a life committed to public service. My hope is the Biden School will inspire this and future generations of young leaders and that it will stand for not only excellence in academic study but also for a return to decency and civility in our nation’s public debate.
“I want to thank President Assanis, the Board of Trustees, and the entire Blue Hen community for this incredible honor,” said Biden.
Biden’s lifetime of public service and policymaking is now officially woven into the academic fabric of his alma mater.
University President Dennis Assanis said that Biden’s deepening relationship with the school marks an exciting time for public policy education at the University of Delaware. “By naming our school the Biden School, we not only recognize and honor our most esteemed alum in public service, but we also reinforce our commitment to elevating our school’s academic excellence and stature to be among the very best public policy programs in the nation,” he said.
“Good public policy — based on solid research and effective practice — is essential for creating real change in our society. We believe in the power of engaged citizenship, and we are inspired by Joe Biden’s lifelong commitment to honorable public service.”
The Biden School is the second entity at UD to take on the former vice president’s name. In 2017, Biden launched the University of Delaware’s Biden Institute, a research and policy center focusing on solutions to issues ranging from economic reform and environmental sustainability to civil rights, criminal justice, women’s rights and more. The Biden Institute will continue to be part of the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. School of Public Policy and Administration.
The Biden School will grow programs in specialty areas that include urban and social policy, energy and environmental policy, health policy and management, and disaster science and management. The school will also continue to focus in the broad areas of public administration and public policy education research and practice.
Notable alumni of the School of Public Policy and Administration include:
- John Carney (MPA ’86), governor of Delaware
- Lisa Blunt Rochester (M.A. ’95), U.S. representative for Delaware
- Elizabeth Lockman (M.A. ’15), state senator for Delaware, District 3 (elected November 2018)
- Scott Beale (MPA ’07), CEO and founder, Atlas Corps
- Angela Gladwell (M.A. ’98), director, Office of Environmental Planning and Historic Preservation at FEMA
- Mike Morton (MPA ’86), controller general, state of Delaware
- Christie Mikus (MPA ’02), deputy director for Zambia, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
- Richard W. Schneider (PhD ’86), president, Norwich University
- Tony Allen (PhD ’01), provost and executive vice president, Delaware State University.
Other UD graduates who have served or continue to serve as policymakers include U.S. Sen. Tom Carper (BE ’75M); Michael Smith (MPA ’07), director for strategic initiatives for the University of Delaware’s College of Health Sciences and state representative for Delaware district 22; and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (AS ’84).