Image from Annual Report

Amid applause and tears of joy, students, faculty, administrative staff and members of the public watched on the big screen at the Student Center Theater as Barack Obama took the presidential oath of office on Jan. 20.

The ceremony was preceded by a discussion about the future conducted by a panel that included Lionel Bascom, adjunct professor in the department of writing, linguistics and creative process; Dr. Christopher Kukk, associate professor of political science; and Mary Connolly, editorial page editor of The News-Times of Danbury.

The discussion ended just before Joseph Biden took the oath of office and the crowd of 60 cheered and applauded for the next hour.

“It’s not very often you know exactly when history is going to be made,” said Associate Dean of the Macricostas School of Arts and Sciences Dr. Abbey Zink, who helped organize the panel discussion. “This is truly an historic occasion, which is why we wanted the university to mark the day in this way. It’s one of those events people seem to want to get together for.”

Elsewhere on campus, several small groups of students stood staring at the monitors in the lobby of the Student Center on the Midtown campus. Clusters of faculty and staff sat at tables in the faculty dining room, eyes fixed on televisions rolled in for the occasion. Among them were assistant directors in the Financial Aid Office, Melissa Stephens and Amanda Evans, who said they chose to eat lunch and watch the inauguration together.

About a dozen people — a mix of faculty, staff, students and members of the local community — congregated around a TV screen in the lobby of the Ruth Haas Library across campus. “It was a momentous and inspiring event,” said Assistant Librarian Veronica Kenausis afterward.