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Inauguration Day

By Jody Record, Campus Journal Editor
January 21, 2009

The Strafford Room was at capacity and the MUB food court was standing room only. People were huddled around the tables, sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall, rapt with attention as Barack Obama took the oath of office to become the 44th president of the United States.

Then they all cheered.

“I’m feeling the power of a new day dawning,” said associate professor of history Jeffrey Bolster after Obama had delivered his inauguration speech.

Bolster watched the ceremony just before going to teach a class where he would try, he said, to tell his students of the “profundity of historical change” marked by the election of the first African American president.

“Especially for older black people, this is unimaginable,” he said. “This is something they never could have thought possible when they were 20 years old.”

Lucy Salyer and Cynthia Van Zandt, both associate professors of history, spoke of the emotional impact the inauguration had on them.
“It’s overpowering,” Sayler said. “It really hasn’t hit home yet.”

Van Zandt noted students seemed to be engaged but passive, perhaps, she said, because they are of a generation that takes for granted Obama being able to become president.

“For them I think it’s like, ‘Well, of course,” she said.

Added Bolster, “It’s hard for them to imagine how bad it really was.”

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