Vice President Biden Speaks at Yale Class Day in New Haven - NECN


The latest news from around the state

Vice President Biden Speaks at Yale Class Day in New Haven



    Vice President Biden Speaks at Yale Class Day in New Haven
    The vice president of the United States is in New Haven on Sunday spoke at Yale College's Class Day as part of commencement weekend for the class of 2015.

    The vice president of the United States was in New Haven on Sunday to speak at Yale College's Class Day as part of commencement weekend for the class of 2015.

    Vice President Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. was at the college's old campus  to address the students on Sunday afternoon. The event was livestreamed on Yale's YouTube channel.

    Biden started off joking about a student comment overheard at Yale and posted on a student website about dreaming he was the vice president and doing a "disco funk" dance with the president to restart the government.

    While Biden quipped he has never done a "disco funk" dance in his post as vice president and that he was happy about someone thinking of himself as vice president, he shared some words of wisdom about what it takes to be happy and successful.

    "Those who are the most successful and the happiest,"  no matter what they're doing for a living, have found a "sweet spot" between career and life balance, according to Biden. He also said the happiest people he knows have figured out that a "good life at its core is about being personal" and "being engaged."

    Biden, the 47th vice president of the U.S., is the oldest of four siblings and was born on Nov. 20, 1942 in Scranton, Pennsylvania, according to the news release from Yale.

    His family moved to Claymont, Delaware in 1953 and he graduated from the University of Delaware. Biden is also an alumnus of Syracuse Law School and was on the New Castle County Council, the release said.

    Biden's speech also took a somber turn as he said to be prepared for life to take unexpected turns in a moment's time.

    When Biden was 29, he was one of the youngest people in history elected to the U.S. Senate, according to the news release. Six weeks after he was elected, his wife at the time, Neilia, and their daughter, Naomi, 1, died in a car accident while they were Christmas shopping. The crash also critically injured their two young sons. Biden was sworn in as a senator from the hospital at his sons' bedside and took the train to the nation's capital daily throughout his 36 years as a Delaware senator as he focused on his surviving sons.

    He only initially expected to stay "a little while" in D.C., but his career in Washington lasted much longer and he still returned home daily so he could kiss his kids goodnight and see them in the morning.

    "I realized I didn't miss a thing. Ambition is really important. You need it and I certainly have never lacked it,"  Biden said. "But ambition without perspective can be a killer."

    He cautioned the graduates against rationalizing about their life decisions and said that "the truth is all of you will go through something like this and you'll wrestle with these choices" and that it is possible to strike a balance between ambition and happiness to achieve fulfillment.

    He remarried in 1988, wedding longtime educator Jill Jacobs, who took his last name and now teaches at a community college in the Washington D.C. area. He has three children -- Hunter, an attorney, Ashley, a social worker, and Beau, Delaware's attorney general and a captain in the 261st Signal Brigade of the Delaware National Guard who recently came home from serving in Iraq, according to the release. Biden also has five grandkids named Naomi, Finnegan, Roberta "Maisy" Mabel, Natalie and Robert Hunter.

    While serving as chairman and a ranking member of the Senate's Judiciary Committee over the course of 17 years, he worked on the 1994 Crime Bill and the Violence Against Women Act, the release said. From 1997 on as a senator, he served as a chairman and member of the Senate's Foreign Relations Committee, tackling foreign policy and helping craft legislation regarding terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, Europe after the Cold War, the Middle East and Southwest Asia.

    As vice president, he helped implement the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to boost the economy and has focused on making college education more affordable and growing the nation's manufactoring industry, the news release said. He uses his foreign policy experience to advise President Barack Obama on international matters. He has helped get Senate approval for the "START nuclear arms reduction treaty with Russia, and traveled to Iraq eight times between his election and December 2011 in the process of ending the war there, according to the news release.

    Biden also has supported the Obama administration's strides to "reestablish leadership in the Asia Pacific" by going to China, Japan and Mongolia and meeting with China's vice president in 2012,  the news release said. Israel's security is another issue of importance to him and he helped rally support in Europe for the U.S. missile defense approach, worked with Latin American leaders in efforts to halt drug trafficking and international crime and made efforts to forge relationships with African leaders, according to the news release.

    Biden has been to over two dozen countries. That includes Germany, Belgium, Chile, Costa Rica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Lebanon, Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq, Poland, Romania, the Czech Republic, Israel, the Palestinian Territories, Jordan, Spain, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Finland, Russia, Moldova, Italy, China, Mongolia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Greece, Mexico, Honduras, Brazil, Colombia, and Trinidad and Tobago, according to the news release.