Correction appended: Andrea James, the president of the University’s chapter of the NAACP, was incorrectly identified in earlier versions of this article.
With the world watching, Barack Obama was sworn in yesterday as the 44th President of the United States on the west steps of the Capitol Building.
Obama’s inauguration, the 56th in American history, drew millions of supporters to Washington, D.C., and millions more to television sets around the world. In his inaugural speech, Obama reassured the country and the world that the problems facing America would be addressed methodically and with immediacy.
“Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America — they will be met,” he said just after taking the oath of office.
Obama then called on Americans to assume a greater role in government to help rebuild the country.
“Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America,” Obama said.
LSA senior Jason Emmendorfer was in D.C. for the inauguration yesterday.
“It was such a big deal,” he said. “History was being made, which is why we made this trip — to be a part of history.”
School of Music, Theatre, & Dance senior Liam White, who also attended the inauguration, said he was there to celebrate the start of the Obama administration and the end of the Bush administration.
“We were celebrating the change of regime,” he said. “We were so happy that Bush was over.”
Andrea James, president of the University’s chapter of the NAACP, said the trip to D.C. made Obama’s historic election seem more real.
“It was a moving experience,” she said. “It makes me more hopeful for the next four years.”
James said that despite her group’s early arrival, the city was already crowded when she arrived yesterday morning.
“We were there at 4:30 a.m. and the streets were already getting packed,” she said.
In Ann Arbor, students, faculty and other members of the University community gathered at several watch parties around campus to share in the historic event.
There was standing room only at the Union Ballroom where approximately 150 students gathered to watch the inauguration.
Throughout the ceremony, the room was quiet, but students stood to cheer and applaud Obama when he was sworn in. When outgoing President George W. Bush was shown on television, several people in attendance snickered and laughed at him.
LSA sophomore Mitch Crispell, who watched the inauguration from the Union, skipped class to witness the event.
“My parents told me to go to class,” he said. “But I said if I went to class I would regret it for the rest of my life and I really should be in a place where I can be celebrating an incredible landmark.”
Engineering senior Ashley Issa, who also watched the inauguration in the Union, said she was excited by the inauguration and thinks Obama will be more responsive to the American people.
“It’s really one of our great events in history,” she said. “I see him as someone who can better represent all the different voices that there are in the US.”
Across campus, a group of students and faculty filled the Business School’s recently constructed Blau Auditorium to watch Obama’s inauguration.
LSA junior Katherine Naszradi, who watched the event in the Business School, said words couldn’t describe how she felt.
“It’s just so incredible,” she said. “It feels like a new era.”
Business senior Elise Hutchinson, said she decided to watch the inauguration from Blau Auditorium after her professor ended class early.
“Our teacher let us out of class, because it’s something he definitely didn’t want us to miss,” she said.
Pharmacy freshman Chris Truong said watching the event made him proud of the country we live in today and ready to tackle the troubles we currently face.
“It is something that all Americans should be proud of,” he said. “Even though we have a lot of problems today, a lot of work can be done if we start it together.”
LSA freshman Justin Schon, who watched with other members of the Honor’s College community in their Mason Hall commons area, said he was impressed by Obama’s speech.
“I thought it was a fantastic speech,” he said. “He hit on all the points that he should have hit on and I was particularly impressed that one of the first words he said was the word ‘humble,’ which is a word I would like to hear the president say more often.”
— Brittney Miller, John A. Weiss, Jr., Daily Staff Reporter Caitlin Schneider and the Associated Press contributed to this report.