Introductory Remarks at Presidential Inauguration Viewing on Low Plaza
January 20, 2009
and then in life, you get the opportunity to be part of something you can be
certain will be remembered for ages to come.
Today the entire world, it seems, is convening to witness the
inauguration of President Barack Obama.
It feels as
if history has all come together for this one brilliant moment, everything
resolved in the best possible way and offering us the potential for a much
better world. It is a certainly a moment
never to be forgotten.
Of all the
people in the world who have the best of reasons to celebrate the inauguration
of President Obama, none has more than Columbia University. President Obama is an alumnus, a 1983
graduate of Columbia College. It is a
pleasure to listen to the new President, whose thoughts and demeanor manifest
what this University stands for - the virtue of a life committed to
understanding and undaunted by the complexity of life.
I must say
one more thing: This is also a moment in
which (as Kennedy said) the "torch has been passed to a new generation," which
is you. It is, therefore, a privilege to
be here with you, at this moment and in this setting.
And, so, we
might say, Stand Columbia and let the world share with us our pride in being
part of this defining moment in history, unembarrassed about our high hopes for
the future, and glad to be part of an institution with a commitment to learn
actively and to act wisely.
Jean, and I would like to invite all students today to join us for refreshments
at the Presidents House immediately following the inauguration ceremony.