Vice President Joe Biden to address USC graduates

ashain@thestate.comApril 9, 2014 

— Air Force Two will be landing in Columbia for the second time in a year.

Vice President Joe Biden will deliver the commencement address at the University of South Carolina on May 9 in Colonial Life Arena, the school said Wednesday. Biden will address business, public health, mass communications, nursing and pharmacy graduates.

Biden, a presumed 2016 White House hopeful, was the headline speaker at the S.C. Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson fundraising dinner a year ago.

Biden is the first sitting vice president to speak at a USC commencement, the school said. Two sitting presidents have delivered graduation addresses, George H. W. Bush in 1990 and George W. Bush in 2003.

A pair of top executives will speak at USC commencements on May 10.

James McNerney, chairman and chief executive of the Boeing Co., which has a jet manufacturing plant in North Charleston, will speak in the morning to Honors College and College of Arts and Sciences graduates.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden, a Columbia native, will address an afternoon ceremony for graduates in education, engineering and computing, hospitality, social work, music and interdisciplinary programs.

Biden’s visit adds to a group of presidential prospects coming to South Carolina, which holds the first presidential primary in the South, over the next two months.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, both Republicans, visit Charleston next week.

Republican Mike Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor, is meeting with pastors in Greenville next month. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal will speak at a S.C. GOP’s Silver Elephant Dinner, a fundraiser, in June.

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