The wait is over.
Former Vice President Joe Biden has been officially named a University professor, Penn President Amy Gutmann announced Tuesday.
Under the title of “Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor,” Biden will lead the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement, based out of Washington, D.C. The center, which is set to open later this year, will be focused on diplomacy, foreign policy and national security, according to a University statement released Tuesday morning.
Biden will hold joint appointments in the Annenberg School for Communication and the School of Arts and Sciences, with a secondary affiliation in the Wharton School.
“We are thrilled to have Vice President Biden here at Annenberg,” Annenberg Dean Delli Carpini said in a statement. “Although he is not scheduled to teach a formal course at this time, we are certain that there will be opportunities for our students to benefit from his presence at Penn.”
In fact, a spokesperson for the former vice president said Biden won’t be teaching at all.
“He will not be teaching classes,” Biden spokesperson Kate Bedingfield told The Daily Pennsylvanian on Tuesday morning. Biden’s work with Penn will be based out of Washington D.C. and Philadelphia, Bedingfield added.
The University’s announcement finally confirms months of speculation surrounding Biden’s plans at Penn. After speculation in December that Biden would “set up shop” at Penn when he left the White House, the former vice president verbally confirmed his plans on a hot mic to come to Philadelphia in January.
Biden was spotted at Penn Law School last month, and Gutmann attended Biden’s farewell ceremony, where former President Barack Obama surprised him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Biden spoke after he received the medal, addressing Gutmann directly.
“I keep seeing people I don’t expect. Madame President [Amy Gutmann], how are you?” he asked, adding, “Mr. President, look at my new boss over there.”
“At Penn, I look forward to building on the work that has been a central pillar of my career in public office: promoting and protecting the post-WWII international order that keeps the United States safe and strong,” Biden said in a statement. “The Penn Biden Center and I will be engaging with Penn’s wonderful students while partnering with its eminent faculty and global centers to convene world leaders, develop and advance smart policy, and impact the national debate about how America can continue to lead in the 21st Century.”
Biden’s post-White House life won’t be restricted to just Penn, however. A statement from the University of Delaware announced that he will serve as the “founding chair” of the school’s Biden Institute, “a new research and policy center focused on developing public policy solutions on issues ranging from economic reform and environmental sustainability to civil rights, criminal justice, women’s rights and more.”
Biden, a 1965 graduate from the University of Delaware, has spoken at the school’s Commencement ceremony four times. His wife, Jill Biden, also earned her bachelor’s and doctorate degrees there.
Despite not attending Penn, Biden has had a close relationship with the University since the 1970s. He has frequently returned to campus for lectures and events, serving as the commencement speaker in 2013.
Various members of Biden’s family have attended Penn, including his daughter, 2010 Social Policy and Practice graduate Ashley Biden and late son, 1991 College graduate Beau Biden. The former vice president’s granddaughter, Naomi, graduated from the College in 2016.
Beau’s death in 2015 from brain cancer prompted Biden to announce his “Cancer Moonshoot” initiative in a roundtable discussion at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center in January 2016.
Campus has been buzzing with enthusiasm over Biden’s likely move to Philadelphia since the rumors began circulating in December of his involvement with Penn. Biden had previously been swarmed with students asking for photographs when he made a surprise visit to University City on election day.
Biden was a senator from Delaware for 36 years. He was well known for commuting to D.C. on Amtrak daily before he moved into the city full-time when he was elected vice president.
This is a developing story and was last updated on Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 11:42 a.m. Check back for updates.