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U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden to deliver 2009 Syracuse University Commencement address

U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., a 1968 graduate of Syracuse University College of Law, will deliver the Commencement address to the 2009 graduates of Syracuse University and the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) during joint Commencement exercises Sunday, May 10, in the Carrier Dome. At the ceremony, Biden will be presented with an honorary degree from the University.

"It's a true honor to be invited back to Syracuse University," says Vice President Biden. "The University and entire Syracuse community have meant so much to me in my life, and I look forward to being a part of the Orange's 2009 graduation festivities."

"We feel so fortunate to have Vice President Biden making this historic visit to our University to share his message about the world with our graduates," says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. "Vice President Biden is playing a critical role at a critical time for our nation and the world, bringing his extensive expertise in foreign policy, his deep personal connection to struggling families and his wisdom cultivated by so many years of engagement as a public servant. Vice President Biden represents the best of Syracuse University, and who better to send off our spectacular 2009 graduating class?"

"Vice President Biden's outstanding accomplishments, vision for the future and service to our country make him an ideal candidate for this honor. As a graduate of the College of Law, he has been an example of the 'get connected, stay connected' story of our graduates," says Hannah R. Arterian, dean of the College of Law. "Vice President Biden's record of public service has inspired our students, and he continues to remain in touch with his classmates, as well as his former professors. I am very proud that he was chosen as the 2009 Syracuse University Commencement speaker, and his acceptance of the invitation during this first year in the vice presidency is a great statement of his personal attachment to Syracuse."

Before becoming the 47th vice president of the United States in January, Biden was one of the most respected U.S. Senate voices on foreign policy, civil liberties and crime prevention. First elected to the U.S. Senate in 1972-at the age of 29-he went on to become a seven-term U.S. senator (D-DE) and a leader on some of the nation's most important domestic and international challenges. Chairman or ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee for 17 years, Biden was widely recognized for his work on criminal justice issues, including the landmark 1994 Crime Bill and the Violence Against Women Act, which contains a broad array of measures to combat domestic violence and provides federal funds to address gender- based crimes. As chairman or ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee since 1997, 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.

Additionally, Biden is widely recognized for his work in environmental protection. In 2000, Biden's decades-long efforts culminated in establishment of Delaware's first and only National Wild and Scenic River-the White Clay Creek Watershed-which is preserved and saved from development for future generations.

Biden grew up in New Castle County, Del., and graduated from the University of Delaware in 1965. Prior to his election to the Senate, he practiced law in Wilmington and served on the New Castle County Council from 1970-72.

An active SU alumnus, Biden has given the keynote address for the SU Law Commencement-in 1994, 2002 and 2006-and delivered the keynote speech at the College of Law's Centennial Celebration in 1995. He received the SU Chancellor's Medal in 1980; the SU Law Alumni Association's Distinguished Service Award in 2003; and the George Arents Pioneer Medal, SU's highest alumni award, in 2005.

For updated information on Commencement Weekend 2009, visit  

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