Vice President Joe Biden

The 47th Vice President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden Jr., will deliver Colby College’s commencement address Sunday, May 21, 2017. The event is open to the public, weather permitting.

“Vice President Biden’s lifelong public service has been marked by his commitment to equality of opportunity, global cooperation, human health, and violence prevention, and all in a spirit of acceptance and bipartisanship,” said President David A. Greene. “These are themes and values that we address in the Colby community and explore through our education and research. We are delighted to present him with an honorary doctorate from Colby and to have him provide the commencement address to our accomplished Class of 2017.”

Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was elected U.S. Senator from Delaware in 1972, at age 29, and earned reelection six times for a total of 36 years in the Senate. As chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Biden worked on criminal justice issues, championing the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and the Violence Against Women Act. Through his work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Biden is credited with reaching a peacekeeping agreement in the conflict in Bosnia in the early 1990s. His work on foreign relations continued following his election to the vice presidency.

As vice president from 2009 to 2017, Biden traveled more than 1.2 million miles visiting more than 50 countries. He carried an oversight role of President Barack Obama’s stimulus package in 2008 and worked on ongoing critical issues, including middle-class living standards, gun violence, violence against women, and the battle against cancer.

Since leaving office, Biden, along with his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, has turned his attention to the Biden Foundation, which aims to identify policies that advance the middle class, decrease economic inequality, and increase opportunity for all people. The foundation’s key areas of focus are foreign policy, cancer, community colleges and military families, protecting children, equality, ending violence against women, and strengthening the middle class. Vice President Biden will also lead the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania and the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware.

“Vice President Biden’s career in public service is truly remarkable, with his values and lived experiences informing and guiding his work. That is a message I know our graduates will carry with them as they move on to their lives after Colby,” said Greene.

The commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. on the lawn of Miller Library, weather permitting. It is open to the public, and attendees who are not family members of graduates are asked to bring their own chairs. In the case of rain, tickets will be required for admission to the gymnasium in the Harold Alfond Athletic Center and there will be an overflow simulcast available in the field house. Any notice of location change will be posted at, as will the link to a live webcast for those unable to attend.

Members of the media who plan to attend, need information, or wish to arrange an audio feed during the ceremony should contact Kate Carlisle in the Office of Communications at [email protected] or 207-859-4369. Advance notice and Colby-issued press credentials are required of all members of the media.

Founded in 1813, Colby is one of America’s most selective colleges. Serving only undergraduates, Colby offers a rigorous academic program rooted in deep exploration of ideas and close interaction with world-class faculty scholars. Students pursue intellectual passions, choosing among 58 majors or developing their own. Independent and collaborative research, global opportunities, and internships offer robust opportunities to prepare students for postgraduate success. Colby is home to a community of 2,000 dedicated and diverse students from more than 80 countries. Its Waterville, Maine, location provides unique access to world-class research institutions and civic engagement experiences.