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Biden surprises students on campus

Photos by Evan Krape

Video by Jason Hinmon and Paul Puglisi

Founding chair of Biden Institute visits Rodney Dining, other UD spots

It was a typical Friday lunch at the Rodney Dining Fresh Food Company, with students grabbing a bite to eat between classes -- until Joe Biden strolled in.

The former vice president and founding chair of the University of Delaware’s Biden Institute was surprising student leaders with lunch at the Caesar Rodney Hall on campus.

"We thought we were getting lunch with Biden Institute Executive Director Cathy McLaughlin, but this was another kind of surprise,” said Matt Rojas, Student Government Association president.

After fulfilling selfie requests from the large group of students gathered behind him, Biden enjoyed a lunch of grilled cheese, tomato soup, french fries and Pepsi while chatting with Rojas and incoming SGA President Natalie Criscenzo. 

“I assumed we were going to have to eat at the Scrounge in Perkins,” Biden said. “But this is a whole different level of dining,” referring to the new dining facility, with made-to-order stations and upscale ambiance.  

After lunch, Biden gladly met with others dining at Rodney, as well as students around campus who had gotten word of his arrival and paid the lunch price for a chance to grab a photo with him.

“I paid the $11 to see him,” senior Katherine Bartell said. “You just never know who you are going to meet at UD; it’s crazy.”

For students waiting in line for a moment with one of the University’s most famous alums, they felt thankful for the opportunities their school has afforded them.

“He’s such a great representative for UD: He has a great personality and is just an all-around great guy,” senior Derek Lee said.

Before leaving Rodney, Biden had to stop by the UDairy station for a cone: He chose a scoop each of chocolate and vanilla, his favorite combination.

He strolled through campus, stopping on The Green and other spots to offer well-wishes to graduating seniors, freshmen finishing up their first semester and many other star-struck students just wanting a handshake, photo moment or even a quick chat on the phone with mom and dad.

Biden’s final surprise stop was at the School of Public Policy and Administration, home of the Biden Institute, where he talked to students, faculty and staff about the insitute's future.

"I am happy to be part of helping attract folks here and attract funding, because this is the place from which I come," Biden said.

Caesar Rodney Fresh Food Company

  • Opened fall 2015
  • The dining facility features 13 points of service including certified kosher, gluten-free and vegan stations. The FFCo offers restaurant-style meals seven days a week with convenient, continuous dining hours Monday through Friday.
  • Total of 1,180 seats and on average serves 2,300 students during lunch. It is one of the largest residential dining locations on the East Coast. 

“We’ve welcomed many visitors interested in Caesar Rodney’s innovative dining experience but Joe’s visit topped the charts as the most exciting. It’s not every day you have the opportunity to serve lunch to a former vice president or to sit and enjoy a meal with one. Our students and staff were certainly surprised when he casually walked through our front doors and equally overjoyed to share lunch with one of their favorite Blue Hens. Joe is invited to stop by for a meal any time.”

-- Stefanie Gilreath, marketing manager of UD Dining


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