President Joe Biden told students in Maryland on Thursday that he used to “teach political theory: at the University of Pennsylvania.
In fact, he has never taught a single semester-long class there.
“Our democracy is under attack, and we got to fight for it,” Biden told an audience at Maryland’s Prince George’s Community College.
“I taught at the University of Pennsylvania for four years and I used to teach political theory. And folks, you always hear, every generation has to fight for democracy.”
Biden, who is 80, was awarded an honorary professorship at UPenn, when he was named the Benjamin Franklin Presidential Professor of the Practice from 2017 to 2019, years he was not vice president or senator, and as he launched his campaign for president. He was the first person to ever hold that honorific title.
The role involved no research, teaching or publishing. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Biden made about a dozen appearances on campus, for which he was paid $900,000. It was always about prestige for the university.
“The former vice president collected $371,159 in 2017 plus $540,484 in 2018 and early 2019 for a vaguely defined role that involved no regular classes and around a dozen public appearances on campus, mostly in big, ticketed events,” the newspaper wrote in 2019.
“Penn’s payments to Biden raised eyebrows and questions among some in the community when they were revealed this week as part of the financial disclosures for his presidential campaign. The average salary for a Penn professor was $217,411 in the 2017-18 academic year, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education,” the paper reported.
Read the Philadelphia Inquirer report from 2019 here.