STORRS, Conn. (WWLP) – President Joe Biden was in Connecticut Friday for a special dedication of the human rights building at UConn.
The event titled “Human Rights for the Next Generation,” President Biden, Senator Dodd, and President Agwunobi were be joined by UConn students, faculty, and staff as well as members of the Connecticut Congressional delegation, Governor Ned Lamont, the UConn Board of Trustees, and others.
UConn students were hyped for Friday, knowing the President of the United States was stepping foot on their campus.
“I think it’s cool the president is here, its an honor for the university, and I think its really good publicity I mean UConn has been a top 25 public university for however many years running,” said UConn Sophomore Caroline Bortz.
“It’s definitely a good thing he’s here, because his presence can unite the whole school as one. I really hope his presence here can bring people together and less of a divide,” said Lindsey Feeks, a UConn Sophomore.
The Thomas J. Dodd Research Center opened in 1995, and UConn’s Board of Trustees voted in August to dedicate it as The Dodd Center for Human Rights offering human rights programs such as The Human Rights Institute (HRI) and Dodd Impact.
“UConn is honoring over a half-century of public service of Connecticut’s father and son U.S. senators, Thomas J. Dodd and Christopher J. Dodd, as well as the commitment of the Dodd family to supporting the growth and development of UConn’s widely recognized human rights academic, research, and engagement programs,” UConn President Dr. Andrew Agwunobi says.
“Our work through Dodd Impact is about just that: Making an impact. Human rights can and should make a difference in the communities on and off campus, globally and close to home,” says Glenn Mitoma, director of Dodd Impact at UConn and an assistant professor of human rights and education.
The Human Rights Institute is said to have the largest undergraduate and graduate human rights program at a public university in the United States: “We are educating and mentoring the next generation of human rights leaders,” says Daniel Weiner, UConn’s Vice President for Global Affairs and a professor of geography.
22News spoke with a UConn professor attending the event. He called it an important day for the university, and something he hopes brings unity.
“Him visiting a public university is an important testament to the fact we are in this together, and the fact its at the human rights center and we know human rights is a big part of this presidency and you know its a step forward,” said Lewis Gordon, Professor and Head of UConn’s Philosophy Department.
Gordon appreciated the fact that Biden acknowledges his imperfections, and was pleased he took time out of his day to acknowledge UConn, a university with the largest human rights programs.
Biden became the second sitting president to pay a visit to this university. Bill Clinton came to UConn 26 years ago, October 15th, 1995, for the original dedication of the Dodd Center.
This was Biden’s last stop in Connecticut. Before going to UConn, he promoted his Build Back Better agenda in Harford, highlighting the importance of investing in child care to help out working families. The President will now head to Joint Base Andrews, before returning home to the White House at 7:00 p.m. Friday night.