Location: Alumni Arena
47th Vice President of the United States (2009-17)
As a senator from Delaware for 36 years, Biden was a leading architect of domestic policy on some of the most pressing issues facing the country. Then-Senator Biden served as chairman or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years, and was a preeminent voice on criminal justice issues, including authoring both the landmark 1994 Crime Act and the Violence Against Women Act. Biden has worked relentlessly since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994 to change the culture around domestic violence and sexual assault, and protect and strengthen victims’ rights. As chairman or ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for 12 years, then-Senator Biden played a pivotal role in shaping U.S. foreign policy. He has been at the forefront of issues and legislation related to terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, post-Cold War Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.
As the 47th vice president of the United States, Biden oversaw the implementation of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which was integral to rescuing the economy from the brink of another Great Depression. The Recovery Act added 2 million jobs to the economy and made an unprecedented investment in America’s infrastructure. According to the nonpartisan Government Accountability Office, under former Vice President Biden’s oversight, more than $800 billion dollars were injected into the economy with less than two tenths of one percent waste, fraud or abuse – making it one of the most efficient government programs in history.
As vice president, Biden also chaired the Middle-Class Task Force, an administration-wide effort to improve the everyday lives and livelihoods of working men and women, and oversaw the administration’s Skills Initiative to improve federal workforce training programs. He authored “Ready to Work: Job-Driven Training and American Opportunity,” a report to the president on how best to ensure American workers are trained for the jobs of the 21st century.
Biden also led the administration’s efforts to implement meaningful reforms to reduce gun violence in this country, which resulted in federal actions aimed at strengthening the background check system and addressing mental health issues linked to gun violence, among others.
In January 2017, President Obama awarded Biden the Presidential Medal of Freedom, with Distinction — the highest civilian honor in the U.S.
Since leaving the White House, Biden continues his legacy of expanding opportunity for all with the creation of the Biden Foundation, the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania, and the Biden Institute of Domestic Policy at the University of Delaware. Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden have also founded the Biden Cancer Initiative to end cancer as we know it, and they continue their son Beau’s work protecting children from abuse with the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children. Vice President Biden is the author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller “Promise Me, Dad: A Year of Hope, Hardship, and Purpose” a memoir released in 2017.
Biden is an alumnus of the University of Delaware, Class of 1965.
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