SHU Students to Attend Presidential Inauguration

News Story: January 1, 2009

As he has for six previous inaugurations, Dr. Gary Rose will be in attendance when the next President of the United States is sworn in, whoever that turns out to be. He will attend the ceremony with members of the Sacred Heart University community in a tradition he first took up in 1985, following the lead of Professor John F. Kikoski.

Sponsored by the University’s Department of Government and Politics, which Professor Rose chairs, the quadrennial excursion brings students face to face with a central rite of passage for the American people: the peaceful transition of power. It is, he concludes, the envy of people everywhere in a world where violent upheavals too often initiate a new government.

The popular special event draws students from Political Science, of course, but Dr. Rose notes that diverse majors are attracted to what is, for most, a once-in-a-lifetime experience. “This allows our students to see a civil democratic process in action and to gain a personal appreciation of an American tradition going back well more than 200 years,” he said.

Every trip has its unique plusses. He recalls that his first such excursion was for Ronald Reagan’s second inauguration. It brought wind chills of 40 degrees below zero, so the ceremonies were held inside the Rotunda of the Capitol. Shut out from the main event, the group hoped to take a tour of the Supreme Court. “I met a man outside the Court building and asked if he worked there. Come to find out, he did work there: it was Justice William Rehnquist, who let us into the building!”

This year’s trip runs from January 18-20, the day of the inauguration. In addition, the Sacred Heart delegation will hear a lecture on presidential politics, participate in a policy briefing, take a moonlight tour of the city’s monuments, and visit the Smithsonian.  Dr. Paul Madonna from the Department of Government and Politics, will also act as chaperone. The cost, including round-trip transportation and four meals, is $300.