After the inauguration of President Joe Biden, WCU’s Instagram page posted a picture of new First Lady Jill Biden captioned, “Today, a Golden Ram entered the White House as First Lady of the United States of America. Dr. Biden earned her Master of Education from WCU in May 1981.” A number of current West Chester students responded with shock and pride, reposting the picture on their Instagram stories with comments like, “Congratulations Doctor Biden! Rams up!”
As current First Lady of the United States, Jill Biden is the most notable alumna of West Chester University. She received her first master’s degree in education with a specialty in reading at WCU and went on to get her master’s degree in English at Villanova University. After teaching high school for several years, she attended the University of Delaware to receive her Doctorate of Education in 2007.
The Quad held a brief interview with her back in 2008 before Joe Biden was nominated for Vice President alongside former President Barack Obama. We have tried to get in contact with Doctor Biden to conduct another interview in more recent years, but it seems she has been a little busy raising a child (that she was pregnant with the year she graduated WCU); advocating for military families, community college and women’s and girl’s education; helping to launch the Biden Foundation and the Biden Cancer Initiative; writing a New York Times bestselling memoir; teaching writing at Northern Virginia Community College; campaigning for Joe Biden and acting as his unofficial bodyguard (after pushing an excited fan off the stage where now President Biden was presenting, she blew up on Twitter).
Being an educator and ensuring education for others are her main passions. She was the first spouse of a Vice President to keep a paying job while in the White House and will be the first First Lady to continue working as a professor. Dr. Biden, known by her students as Dr. B, has already started teaching over Zoom.
Dr.Biden’s dedication to teaching and supporting students and community colleges is also shared by President Biden. The Biden Administration has vocalized its support in cutting $10,000 of existing student debt and is being pressured by other notable progressive politicians, such as Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, to cut even more.
In a global pandemic, where the price and quality of remote education are often questioned, students can look forward to an administration that wants to ensure everyone can afford a quality education.
In an event sponsored by College Promise, Dr. Biden made a statement: “Every hardworking student should have the chance to go to community college for free. That promise has never been more important … Joe and I will stand by you in those efforts.”
As students across the country brave another semester of Zoom University, so does First Lady and West Chester alumna Jill Biden.
Emma Hogan is a first-year English Writings Major. EH954390@wcupa.edu