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Campus to host Inauguration Day event

| 08 January 2009

It might not rival Washington, D.C.’s Inauguration Day extravaganza, but there will be a star-spangled public viewing of the historic swearing-in of Barack Obama as the 44th U.S. president via a big-screen Jumbotron TV in UC Berkeley’s Sproul Plaza.

Inauguration Day event posterRain or shine, televised proceedings from Washington, D.C., will be viewed on the plaza beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20. At about 8:15 a.m. Chancellor Robert Birgeneau and Roxanne Winston, president on campus of the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC), will welcome the campus community and others to the event.

The festivities are being sponsored by the Office of the Chancellor and the ASUC and underwritten by a private donor.

"I see this as the ultimate community event for our campus and a way to congratulate Cal students for the role they played,” said Birgeneau. "Their work in registering voters and in getting the vote out was fantastic. It is truly an historic moment."

Birgeneau also noted that the inauguration is "a time to rededicate ourselves to public service - a primary mission of our university." Several events across campus are answering this call, including volunteer activities on Martin Luther King Day, the day before the inauguration, as part of a National Day of Service. The Cal Corps Public Service Center is organizing a Call to Action for those who would like to pledge volunteer hours for upcoming service projects. And the ASUC is planning related activities for students during the week of the inauguration.

At the Inauguration Day event on Sproul Plaza, highlights on the Jumbotron will include:

  • An 8:30 a.m. (11:30 a.m. EST) call to order on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, welcoming remarks by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, an invocation, music by well-known performers including Aretha Franklin, and the swearing-in of Vice President Joe Biden.
  • At about 9 a.m. (noon EST), Obama taking the oath of office as the 44th U.S. president and, immediately afterward, delivering an approximately 45-minute inaugural address.

The program is open to UC Berkeley faculty, staff and students and members of the surrounding community. Although classes will not be cancelled Tuesday morning, some professors plan to bring their students to the event. Campus supervisors have been authorized to grant two hours of administrative leave to staff to attend. The campus also has invited several classes of children from nearby schools to attend, as well as local elected officials.