Inauguration broadcast on campus

Students gathered at Coffman Memorial Union’s theater to watch the inauguration speech given by President Obama.

Chris Roberts

Students gathered at Coffman Memorial Union’s theater to watch the inauguration speech given by President Obama.

University of Minnesota sophomore and Kenyan immigrant Pauline Mochama gazed intently at the movie screen in Coffman Theater Tuesday as Barack Obama was inaugurated as the 44th president of the United States. Appearing touched by the ceremony, Mochama called it a âÄúspecial connectionâÄù between those of Kenyan heritage, referring to the presidentâÄôs Kenyan roots . Although Mochama was able to make it to the theater to watch the inauguration with fellow students, some students and faculty with class during the event were not so lucky. Political science associate professor Daniel Kelliher was discouraged that one of his courses was held during a critical part of the inauguration. âÄúThe timing was exactly wrong,âÄù he said. âÄúI would have preferred to not have it at that time.âÄù Kelliher expressed sympathy for his students that may have wanted to view the ceremony. âÄúThe first thing I did was apologize,âÄù he said, adding that he allowed students with laptop computers to watch the inauguration coverage if they liked. Although the class was held simultaneously with the inauguration, Kelliher said all but a handful of people showed up in a class of 80-plus registered students. John Oen , an economics junior, was forced to miss most of the inauguration ceremony due to class, but didnâÄôt seem too bothered by it. He said he would just watch it online later that evening. âÄúThatâÄôs the beauty of the Internet,âÄù he said. âÄúPolitics is politics, school is school.âÄù In perhaps the most viewed presidential inauguration since Ronald ReaganâÄôs in 1981, which recorded about 42 million viewers , the 44th inauguration ceremony was broadcast in several campus locations, courtesy of the Student Unions and Activities group. The inauguration was shown at Coffman Union in the Commuter Lounge, as well as the Coffman Theater, and also shown on the St. Paul Campus at the St. Paul Student Center Theater and St. Paul Center Lower Level Lounge. Students flowed in and out of the locations to catch a glimpse of the ceremony. The Commuter Lounge in Coffman was filled with more students than there were seats, and some people were forced to stand up. First-year early childhood education student Emma Phillipe watched the ceremony in the Coffman Theater as well. âÄúThere was just a lot of emotion,âÄù she said. Undeniably a historic day, Mochama said ObamaâÄôs inauguration would âÄúaffect lives all over the world.âÄù âÄúI think itâÄôs a day that everyone will remember,âÄù she said. — Christopher Roberts contributed to this report