After Barack Obama’s victory in November, many jubilant Americans who had stayed up late celebrating returned to work. This was not true in Kenya, where President Mwai Kibaki declared the Thursday after Election Day a public holiday.
James Mwaura ’10, who was born and raised in Kenya, said that although he was not in Kenya on Election Day, his Kenyan relatives told him the reaction “was even crazier” there, in the country where Obama’s father was born and raised.
Although Obama barely knew his Kenyan relatives, Mwaura said, “Lots of people feel a kinship to him.”
When Barack Obama was declared the next president of the United States, his promise of hope and change enthralled people beyond American borders.
Months later, at the eve of Obama’s inauguration, many international students at Cornell expressed their “cautious optimism” over the next president of the United States.
At the Holland International Living Center, where a crowd gathered in November to watch Election Night unfold, a resident noted that he has never met any international student at Cornell who supported the Republican candidate, John McCain. Many residents generally welcomed Obama’s presidency, but they also remarked that people’s expectations on Obama could be too high.
Today is a day for new beginnings. As the Cornell community comes back to life with the start of spring semester, an estimated 2 million people from all around the country and the world descend on our nation’s capital to celebrate another beginning — the inauguration of the 44th president, Barack Obama. Over 100 of this throng will be Cornellians, looking to take part in the making of lifetime memories and of history.
The Sun: What do you bring to the table for Cornell? Why did the selection committee choose you?
David Skorton: Well, you would have to ask the selection committee to be fair because I didn’t make the choice. They did. I’m very honored that they did. I can tell you what I think I have to offer the campus. I have been in higher education administration for 14 years at VP or president level at Iowa, and so I have a certain amount of administrative experience. I have a good handle on why universities exist, who the very important stakeholders and constituencies are in universities. I’ve had my chance to make plenty of mistakes in administration over the years. Hopefully I’ve learned from them.