"My Fellow Citizens...": Grinnellians celebrate the inauguration on campus
Listen to Sarah Purcell, director of the Rosenfield Program in Public Affairs, discuss the historical significance of the Inauguration.
Students gathered in several places around campus to watch the Inauguration. In addition to the Rosenfield Center, the ceremony was also screened in Alumni Recitation Hall 302 and in the Harris Center Cinema.
The seats on the main floor filled up quickly, and newcomers began to stake out viewing spots wherever they could find room.
The Inauguration marks the end of an election cycle that has spanned almost two years. Barack Obama came to Grinnell twice during the course of his campaign, and many other candidates also paid visits to the town and campus.
Applause broke out at noon, when the "fact ticker" at the bottom of the screen announced that Barack Obama had become the first black president of the United State. The Constitution says that the president's term begins at noon on Jan. 20, whether or not he or she has taken the oath of office.
When Chief Justice John Roberts asked the audience to rise for the president's oath of office, Katya Gibel, anthropology, was first on her feet.
The crowd in room 101 rose to watch Barack Obama sworn in as the first black president of the United States.
As Barack Obama finished taking the oath of office, his audience in Grinnell erupted in cheers.
In his inaugural address, President Barack Obama exhorted Americans to make the tough choices needed to rebuild the economy and declared that America was "ready to lead once more."
Tuesday marked the final event of this stirring election season as Grinnell students, staff, and faculty gathered to view the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first black president of the United States. Spirits were high as people trickled into Room 101 of the Joe Rosenfield '25 Center. The chairs were full by 10:30 a.m. and newcomers staked out positions along the perimeter, with all faces turned toward the huge screen at the front of the room. Live coverage of the ceremony was also shown in Alumni Recitation Hall Room 302 and the Harris Center Cinema. Many were excited about the historic occasion. "It's a big moment, obviously, for the country," said Torrey MacGregor '11. "I'm really excited to see what he says in his Inauguration speech." Katherine McClelland, director of the Math Lab, said that she found the day very moving "I was at the march on Washington as a teenager," she said, "So for me this is a moment, a culmination of history, that's very important." The room was buzzing with anticipation as Vice President-Elect Joseph Biden and President-Elect Obama took the stage. At noon, a message appeared at the bottom of the screen, which read, "Barack Obama just became president," and the crowd erupted in cheers. The Constitution states that the new president's term begins at noon on January 20, whether or not he has taken the oath of office. When the crowd on the National Mall was told to rise, everyone in room 101 jumped to their feet. The crowd in the Rosenfield Center grew quiet again as President Obama began his inaugural address. His declaration that America was "ready to lead once more" drew the most cheers from the audience. Following the address, the crowd began to disperse. Some stayed behind to watch the closing poem and the benediction by civil rights pioneer Rev. Joseph E. Lowery. When all was done, Rico Howard '09 said he was pleased to see the rhetoric of the campaign finally come to fruition. "I'm just eager to see what will happen. What will happen for his first term, and hopefully for his second term," he said. Allison Rosenthal '09 said that watching the ceremony in the Rosenfield Center surrounded by other passionate Grinnellians made it that much more memorable. "I think it was just great to witness such a historic event with a bunch of Grinnellians," she said. "It made it really special."