Watching inauguration through tears, SU professor remembers predicting Biden’s ‘going to be something’


MANLIUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Tom Maroney’s Irish eyes were smiling. He blames them for tearing up, too, during the inauguration of his former law school student, Joe Biden.

Maroney, a former US Attorney for New York’s Northern District, watched the swearing-in with NewsChannel 9.

Here I sit, self-centered just a teeny bit, the son of Irish immigrants, a first-generation Irish American, thinking to myself: ‘You taught that man. He is the president of the United States. He’s the most important person in this country, and arguably in the world, and you had a teeny little part in that. That’s pretty cool.’


Biden’s final year at Syracuse University’s College of Law, 1967 to 1968, included a class with a new professor: Tom Maroney.

The topic of the course was, appropriately, legislation. Maroney still has the textbook.

“I went home and said to my wife, ‘I just chatted with one of my students in this course.’ He has what I described as ‘presence,’” Maroney remembers. Then he told her, “‘He’s going to be something someday.’”

Maroney and Biden have stayed in touch over the years, especially during Biden’s frequent returns to Syracuse. He’s given commencement addresses for both the SU College of Law and the bigger university graduation.

Instead of going to the scaled-down inaugural ceremony, Maroney watched on television with his wife and granddaughter.

19-year-old McKenna Purcell says it was cool to see her grandfather’s reaction during the ceremony.

Purcell said, “The fact that I was able to vote and I obviously voted for Biden was cool, that I played a role, even if a small one and the fact that I have this connection is also pretty cool.”

Maroney’s wife, Mary Kay, will never forget her husband’s early mornings and late nights preparing for class.

“I think, in a way, Tom was a role model for Joe Biden, of what honesty, and integrity, and intelligence and hard work is all about,” Mary Kay said.

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