Biden Visits

Wilkes University

“It’s my honor to introduce to you, President Joe Biden.”

And a momentous occasion at Wilkes University began. As the United States Marine Band played “Hail to the Chief” under a massive American flag and to the cheers of more than 700 attendees, Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown introduced the 46th President of the United States, Joseph R. Biden, Jr.

At just past 3 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 30, 2022, Wilkes faculty, students and staff packed the Arnaud C. Marts Center to hear President Biden address his Safer America Plan, which aims to further reduce gun violence and crime.

It is the first time in 50 years that a sitting president has visited Wilkes University. In 1972, President Richard Nixon came to Wilkes to announce a $4 million grant in support of the University’s Agnes Flood recovery efforts.

The historic visit almost didn’t happen. It was rescheduled from July when the President tested positive for COVID-19. When the news broke about the canceled event, President Biden called Mayor Brown personally and assured him that the trip would be rescheduled.

“We can think of no more historic way to begin a new academic year than by welcoming the President of the United States to our campus,” said Wilkes President Greg Cant. “Not many college students can say they spent the second day of the fall semester with the leader of the free world. But at Wilkes, many of them did. It is an absolute honor and an incredible opportunity for our entire campus community.”

Photos by Patricia DeViva
Ariel Reed getting her gear ready for the Joseph R. Biden visit to Wilkes.
Ariel Reed getting her gear ready for the Joseph R. Biden visit to Wilkes.

The Opportunity of a Lifetime for the Student Newspaper’s Managing Editor

For President Biden’s visit, the White House Press Pool allowed one representative from the student newspaper, The Beacon, to cover the event. Ariel Reed ’23, communication studies and sports management double-major, got the call.

She shares what it was like:

“Covering President Biden’s visit was a once in a lifetime experience. I was able to report for both The Beacon and our TV station, WilkesNow, with my focus being the visual and audio components of the event. At first, I felt extremely out of place and a little intimidated by all the other headline journalists and their caravans of cameras and equipment. I was placed right beside Fox News and CNN. But being around ‘my people,’ the multimedia journalists, allowed me to get a deeper look at what it is like to cover huge news events. I’m extremely thankful for this opportunity, because in the job market, this will set me apart. I doubt any other entry-level journalist candidates will be able to serve as a reporter on-scene for an incumbent president! It also opened my eyes to how real journalists work and function in a high intensity environment.”

Kimberly Mazur of the admissions office with President Bident
Kathrine Ermeus ’24, political science with President Biden
Gabriel Sawarynski ’25, pharmacy with President Biden
Chemistry and biochemistry professor Donald Mencer’s daughter, Kya Mence with President Biden
Gina Cherundolo of the Farley Library (with brown hair in center) with President Biden
President Biden Shared Lots of Handshakes…and Selfies!

After President Biden’s speech, the event was hardly over. He spent almost an hour greeting audience members, shaking hands and saying hello. And the President took selfies—here are a few Colonel selfies that were taken that day.

From top: Kimberly Mazur of the admissions office; Kathrine Ermeus ’24, political science; Gabriel Sawarynski ’25, pharmacy; Chemistry and biochemistry professor Donald Mencer’s daughter, Kya Mencer; Gina Cherundolo of the Farley Library (with brown hair in center).