President Joe Biden visited Penn's campus in the early afternoon on April 1 in an unannounced visit.
Biden, a former presidential professor of practice, arrived at about 12:33 p.m. and was seen walking toward Charles Addams Fine Arts Hall at 36th and Walnut streets. A portion of Walnut Street was closed and barricaded as a crowd of around 50 students and community members quickly formed outside of the Penn Bookstore.
Biden, who was accompanied by First Lady Jill Biden and his children Hunter and Ashley Biden, was seen entering his vehicle surrounded by the presidential motorcade at around 1:07 p.m.
According to the White House out-of-town press pool report, "the President and the First Lady are visiting Maisy Biden's senior art show at the University of Pennsylvania, Addams Gallery."
Maisy Biden is a College senior studying fine arts. A University spokesperson wrote in a statement to The Daily Pennsylvanian that the president was on campus for "a private family visit," and directed further questions to the White House. The White House did not respond to a request for comment by publication.
The president's motorcade later arrived at the restaurant Parc in Rittenhouse Square at 1:18 p.m.
Biden last publicly visited Penn in October 2022. This visit marks the first time Biden has visited the University since classified documents were found at the Penn Biden Center in Washington, leading to a variety of House inquiries sent to Penn President Liz Magill about foreign influence. The Center opened in 2018.
Students in the crowd were excited to see the president on campus.
"Seeing Biden here, I think it only elevated the school's presence and legitimized us as an Ivy," College sophomore Carmen Marranca said.
Several members of the Biden family have also graduated from Penn’s various schools.
In February 2017, Biden was appointed to the honorary professor position of Benjamin Franklin Presidential Practice Professor. Biden's role at Penn was largely ceremonial — he did not teach classes and appeared on campus infrequently. Biden took an unpaid leave of absence from the position in April 2019 to run for president.
Biden recently visited Philadelphia in February to speak at the Democratic National Committee's winter meeting reception, where he discussed recent policy victories.