Mabee helps campus celebrate historic Obama inauguration

The Memorial Union celebrated the inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States in their own way last Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Robert Burkett

Tuesday, Jan. 20 2009 will be a day people ask each other, “where were you when we inaugurated the first black president in United States history?” For some students and faculty at Washburn the answer will be Mabee Library, where there was an inauguration-watch hosted by the library faculty. Many students gathered as early as an hour beforehand to get a good seat and enjoy refreshments provided by the library.

Despite the challenges facing the country, it was not a somber event. Some attendees treated it as a holiday and a celebration of what is to come for this country. Others sat silently, soaking in the atmosphere as they awaited the transition of power.

“I expect he will call the country to service,” said Alan Bearman, interim dean of university libraries, when asked about what his expectations were of Obama’s inauguration speech. “He will celebrate the majesty of the peaceful transition of power and be bold.”

President Barack Obama covered myriad issues in his speech. In particular, he called the nation to task on the state of the economy, and the need for all Americans to do their part to bring about an economic recovery. The president also highlighted his vision for future foreign policy, as well as his contrasting opinion with the outgoing administration regarding issues of philosophy in how the country would be represented on the world stage. Specifically, he reached out to the Middle East with “an open hand, if [the Middle East] will unclench their fist.”

“It was like listening to a combination of [John F. Kennedy] and [Martin Luther King]” said Nena Blevins, mass media student, after she watched the speech. Indeed, only time will tell what comes of the new administration as they move forward with the business of running the country. In the meantime, students, faculty and most Americans watch and wait with lofty hopes and expectations.