Jill Biden, second lady of the United States and wife of Vice-President Joe Biden, calls herself a lady who doesn’t do lunch, but she did lunch today with the UCC community.
“What an honor it is to have her here,” UCC President Rita Cavin said. Biden’s campus visit came after the Vice President’s office asked UCC what they could do to help regarding Oct.1.
The mood during the personal reception was warm as about 50 faculty, staff, community leaders, and some select students conversed with the Second Lady and had their photos taken.
“We haven’t seen so many smiling faces in two months,” said Vanessa Becker, UCC Board Chair.
Biden also met privately with just the Snyder Hall writing teachers before the luncheon to encourage them in their support of students. As a parent who lost a child last summer, she expressed the difficulties of dealing with depression and trauma. She also talked about the important role community college teachers play in helping students realize their life purpose.
Biden herself has taught for about 30 years and is currently an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College. In fact, yesterday, before flying out to Oregon, she taught five classes and then graded research papers on the plane.
“Community colleges have a special place in my heart, and my heart goes out to the entire Roseburg community,” Biden said on Oct. 2.
Several attendees expressed their appreciation for Biden’s approachability and sincere sentiments.
“She is so warm and down to earth,” said Susan Taylor, UCC director of grants and planned giving.
Sherri Vike, UCC elementary education student, said, “It felt really good; it felt like we were being honored. It felt like a blessing to see her here and how she is outside of the political arena.”
Biden flew into the Eugene Airport and rode down to UCC in a motorcade where she was on campus for approximately two hours.
“It’s a generous donation of the Second Lady’s time,” Christopher Lake, a professor of viticulture and enology said, “It’s amazing to have a voice in the White House about how important community colleges are.”
In the words of Lane Community College President Mary Spilde who attended, “She is one of us.”
Biden brought messages of solidary and support from other community college teachers around the country who said they think about UCC faculty daily.
Marie Gambill, president of the UCC faculty association, also had a message to share: “I think it was important that she (Dr. Biden) bring back to Washington D.C. the UCC message of unity.”