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Students, Faculty React to Inauguration Speech

"I particularly liked the emphasis on a return to virtue while taking a step forward. The country needs new guidance. We’ve been without a moral compass for eight years and the speech setup some legitimacy for him to do that." - Steve Maynard ‘11


"I very much like the fact that he wants to embrace the rest of the world. He used his rhetoric about being able to no longer ignoring people outside (The US). I also liked the short little hint at the nonbelievers in the country who also count – so much God here and there confuses people. I think he really wants to make an effort to reach out to the rest of the world; and, as a foreigner, from my point of view, that’s excellent."  – Isabel Jaen-Portillo, Asst. Prof. Spanish


"I had a positive reaction to the speech as a whole. I felt that it wasn’t too simple, I thought it was complex and inclusive of a lot of his goals. I don’t think it was too hokey with catch phrases and that sort of thing."  - Ross McKinney ‘09


"The speech was an Obama speech – it was eloquent and well delivered. It’s a very touching moment after Martin Luther King Day to have a black man sworn in as president. I think we can all celebrate that regardless of our politics." - Austin Rovenstine ‘10



"John Roberts messed up the oath of office, which isn’t much of a surprise because he probably has never read the Constitution. I guess I’m also angry about the invocation. The whole invocation was done in the name of Jesus – which is fantastic. I’m sure that’s going to bring the whole rest of the world on board. As a non-Christian I guess he’s not my president and this ain’t my country."  – Ethan Hollander, Asst. Prof. Political Science


"I was just taken aback. Of course, he delivered as always. I never thought that this would happen. Actually donating to my first presidential campaign, doing a little volunteer work also it’s just completely amazing."  - Josh Lopez ‘10



"It is a change, no question about that. I thought it was a terrific speech. Get ready for a very different life. It’s interesting talking to students who have only really known the Bush years. For those of us who have been around a little longer and have a little perspective, they were very distinctive. This will be a big change." - Dr. Phil Mikesell, Professor of Political Science



"It was more sober than I expected. I think it was a brilliant speech, very much anchored in the reality of the time but not anchored in specific policy. I think it was a call to the future but it was a call to a very practical read of that future. I think to attempt to bring all people’s together, that was interesting to me.


"I was more struck there wasn’t more interruption for applause. I think it was because you don’t necessarily applause when you are given such severe marching orders.  It reminded me a little bit of John Kennedy – ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country’ and for the world. I liked when he said ‘if you unclench your fist, you will find an open hand’ and I think that was one of the more beautiful images of the speech." - President Patrick White

Photos by Steve Abbott '09. Mug shots by Patrick McAlister '10