Orange Watch: Saluting Syracuse Orange in the White House

Joe Biden
President Barack Obama presents Vice President Joe Biden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom with Distinction during a tribute to the Vice President in the State Dining Room of the White House, Jan. 12, 2017. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

Item: Wednesday’s inauguration festivities in Washington, D.C. provided a day for all Syracuse University alumni to beam proudly, as the school joined the select ranks of universities to have an alumnus reach the highest office in the land. Joe Biden (L’68) is now not only our 46th President of the United States, but he’s a huge Orange sports fan.

Following his best overall performance of the season in Tuesday night’s dominant win over Miami, and the surprising revealing by Jim Boeheim that he’s on the continued road to recovery after testing positive last month for COVID-19, Syracuse guard Joe Girard summed up succinctly the thoughts of thousands of other SU stakeholders when asked about the new president.

“It’s pretty cool to say you go to the (same) school as the President,” Girard told the media in reference to the new Biden Administration. “It’s big for the Syracuse community in general, everybody is raving about it.”

President Biden loves college athletics, especially his home state and undergrad school the Delaware Blue Hens, and his Law School Orangemen.

He’s certainly no stranger to interacting with Syracuse athletics and being inside the Dome. Biden was the commencement speaker in the building in 2009 when receiving an honorary degree, and has made many other trips to campus since his grad school days, including on four occasions (1994, 2002, 2006, 2016) providing the commencement address for the College of Law.

Like fellow former Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, Biden has watched Syracuse basketball postseason games in-person. Clinton (post-terms) and Trump (pre-term) sat courtside at Madison Square Garden for SU Big East Tournament games in New York, and sitting President Obama took in the Elite Eight win over Marquette in 2013 in a private box shared with former Chancellor Nancy Cantor at what was then known as the Verizon Center (now Capital One Arena) in D.C.

As Vice President in 2012, Biden, after giving a speech in the area earlier in the day, sat high above the court at Pittsburgh’s Consol Energy Center (now PPG Paints Arena) to watch the NCAA East Region No. 1 seed Orange blitz Kansas State by 16-points in a second-round tournament game.

Three years earlier, Biden gave the 2009 NCAA champion SU lacrosse team and staff a lifetime memory providing a White House tour and having everyone meet Obama in the Rose Garden as the President took a break from a meeting.

» Related: Syracuse throttles Miami as Girard, Boeheim bust out

On a personal note, there’s a double-dose of a loose connection to the new First Family, both with Syracuse University and our longtime residence. Yours truly has lived many years in the same suburban Philadelphia township where Jill Biden grew up in the 1960s.

Known by her maiden name Jill Jacobs, and for being a tad rebellious and outgoing, the First Lady attended Upper Moreland High School before winding up at the University of Delaware embarking on a teaching career, and subsequently meeting and marrying the future 46th President.

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About Brad Bierman 848 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.