There was a collective pause across the College of William and Mary campus as the first president of African American heritage was sworn in just after noon Tuesday.
Students, professors and staff joined the millions of Americans across the country to watch the historical transition of power from George W. Bush to Barack Obama.
The College set up projector screens in the Commonwealth Auditorium and Lodge 1 of the Sadler Center for those on campus to view the Inauguration Ceremony.
By 10 a.m., as President-elect Barack Obama, his wife Michelle and their two daughters, Sasha and Malia, entered their limo transport to Capitol Hill, only a handful of students had gathered in the Sadler Center.
Some wondered aloud if most of the College had traveled to the Capital to view the Inauguration Ceremony.
“I live less than 20 miles from the capitol, and I would never have stayed,” Lisette Armstrong ’11 said. “They closed down the bridges into and out of the [city]. My mom was saying how people in the capital are so excited; every time they see a black car with tinted windows drive by, they start cheering, hoping it’s President Obama.”
Despite the cold weather, the crowd in the Sadler Center slowly grew — and anticipation grew with it.
“I’m excited about the inauguration,” Shahla Nasserasr Ph.D. ’10 said. “[Obama] speaks about beautiful things and I think he will do a lot for a country, at least more than the last president.”
As noon approached, students and faculty crowded the Commonwealth and Lodge 1.
Dining employees crowded around the televisions on the main floor, while postal workers lined the wall across from the televisions on the bottom floor to watch Obama take the oath of office.
A group of approximately 60 people watched in silence from the Chesapeake Auditorium as the newly sworn in president addressed the nation.
Some hugged each other as he went to the podium after taking the oath, and others cheered as Obama spoke of peace and prosperity returning to the United States.
Later that night, members of the class of 2012 attended the All-Freshmen Inaugural Ball, funded by the hall councils of Yates and Monroe halls.