NEWARK, Del. (AP) — Today's college graduates are stepping into a rapidly changing world that presents profound dangers and challenges as well as incredible opportunities, Vice President Joe Biden said Saturday in a commencement speech at his alma mater, the University of Delaware.
A sense of confidence and an optimistic attitude will enable the newest class of graduates not only to confront those challenges and make the most of them, just as previous generations of Americans have done, but "to bend history a little bit," the vice president said.
"Once every couple of generations, a class enters a point in our history where they actually have a chance to change the trajectory of the country, an inflection point, where change is taking place," Biden said.
Biden's speech was his fourth commencement address at the university, from which he graduated in 1965 with a double major in history and political science. Today, just as when he graduated from the university, America is again at such a point of change, Biden asserted.
Whereas the nation in the 1960s was roiled by the nuclear arms race, the civil rights movement, political assassinations and the Vietnam War, the challenges today are different, but no less daunting, said Biden, ticking off a list that includes international terrorism, pandemic disease, climate change and global inequity.
"Today, stateless actors not only create a threat, but an opportunity. They're bringing together civilized nations in a common cause to wipe them out," he explained. "The effects of climate change are real and must be acted on. They're generating phenomenal breakthroughs and rapid growth of renewable energy."
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