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(NECN: Newport, RI) - Vice president-elect Joe Biden and other dignitaries gathered this morning to mourn former Rhode Island Senator Claiborne Pell. "We gather to remember a man who changed the circumstances of tens of millions of people," said Biden. "He literally was my mentor." The funeral liturgy took place at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newport, Rhode Island. "There wasn't anything quaint about his understanding of his role of the United Nations," said Biden. "He was well ahead of his time." <a href="http://www.necn.com/Boston/Politics/2009/01/05/Kennedy-remembers-days-at-sea/1231168809.html" target="_blank">Click here to watch the eulogy by Kennedy.</a> <a href="http://www.necn.com/Boston/Politics/2009/01/05/Clinton-Something-magical/1231169699.html" target="_blank">Click here to watch the eulogy by Clinton.</a> <a href="http://www.necn.com/Boston/Politics/2009/01/05/Reed-Pell-dedicated-life-to/1231172063.html" target="_blank">Click here to watch the eulogy by Reed.</a> <a href="http://www.necn.com/Boston/Politics/2009/01/05/Pell-grandson-He-came-through/1231172684.html" target="_blank">Click here to watch the eulogy by Pell's grandson.</a> The Democrat died Thursday after a long battle with Parkinson's disease at the age of 90. Pell created the federal education grants that helped millions of Americans afford college. He was first elected to the Senate in 1960. He sponsored legislation creating the Basic Educational Opportunity Grant program, which passed in 1972 and provided direct aid to college students. Pell was also the main Senate sponsor of the 1965 law creating the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. He participated in the 1945 San Francisco conference that wrote the United Nations charter and served in the U.S. foreign service for seven years. Pell left office in January 1997 after his sixth term.