Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration Viewings Result in Large DU Crowds

This display can be found in the Science Building.

On Jan. 20, 2009, the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States Barack Obama was on the minds of the American people. According to CNN, 1.5 million people gathered to watch the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, at the National Mall on Tuesday.

While at least one of Dominican's students, Evisa Kalemaj, attended the inauguration and the Inaugural Ball (as an Inaugural Scholar), the majority of the Dominican community watched the President take the oath of office from various locations on campus. Check out the Feb. 4 Dominican Star for more on Evisa's inauguration experiences.

Dean of Rosary College of Arts and Sciences Jeffrey Carlson said,"The University decided to have as many viewing venues as possible to accommodate what we thought would be a strong interest among many in the community." This was a great strategy as many classes were canceled to relocated to an inaugural viewing area to allow students to soak in the moment.

Students and faculty alike viewed the historical event in the Library Link. Dean Carlson sat in front of me during the viewing and Angela Frazier-Asiedu, assistant dean of advising services, sat to my left.
Frazier-Asiedu said she "cried through the whole thing."

"As I watched the first family come through the tunnel, I was gleaming. These people looked like me. The daughters reminded me of me and my sisters when we were that age. I was so proud. And then, Aretha Franklin began to sing and the tears began to well up," Frazier-Asiedu said.

Emotions of "joy, disbelief (wow, this was really happening), peace, thankfulness and pure pride" took over Frazier-Asiedu as President Obama took the oath of office.

"I could not contain my expressions," she said. "His words were strong and showed his leadership right out of the gate. He not only gave Americans hope, but I think he gave the world hope."

Students and faculty stood at the back of the Library Link as CNN broadcast live coverage from Washington. By the time President Obama gave his speech, the standing area overflowed into Lewis Hall and into the library. (Unfortunately, I was not able to get a photo of the intense crowd as there was no way to get out of my seat. Also, I did not want to disrupt those around me as the moment in Washington captivated everyone in the area.)

The Social Hall also displayed the inauguration. A large screen showed CNN's live coverage and rows after rows of seating allowed students to take part in the moment. Freshman Marco Colapietro viewed the inauguration in the Social hall.

"Watching the event in the Social Hall (with all my peers) was a once in a lifetime opportunity," he said.

As inaugural events progressed and President Obama's speech came closer and closer, more people gathered in the Social Hall. The standing area that was unoccupied, became more and more full as the clocked ticked. In the photo above, you can even see President of Dominican University Donna Carroll gathered to take part in this event. Junior Kacey Hahn was also in among the Social Hall's viewers.

"There were a ton of people there. Students were there, teachers there, all of Dominican was there," she said. "It's great DU showed the inauguration especially because it's such a big milestone. DU made it so that students wanted to go."

The Springer Suite was also a host of the inaugural viewing. Students and faculty gathered, mesmerized by the events taking place in our nation's capital.

As you see above, most people watching the inauguration appeared to be so glued in to the TV screen. Seriousness was present. Focus was present. Emotion was present.

The Cyber Cafe also became a viewing spot for students and faculty. These students watched the inauguration in between classes.

Inauguration viewings were also held in Parmer Hall and the Priory Campus. This election was the first election many students were able to participate in, and Dominican University embraced students' interests by hosting many viewing areas throughout campus. Frazier-Asiedu said watching the inauguration with her "work family was amazing."

"I was grateful that the University felt like this event was important enough to show throughout the campus," she said. "This gave the DU community to participate in an historical moment together."

Patriotism was a large presence that not only took over Washington, but the Dominican community as well...the cafeteria even had a cake for lunch decorated like the American flag and said: "President Obama...Yes We Did!"