Gari Jones, a junior from Chicago, was chosen to stand on stage behind President Barack Obama during his speech on Jan. 22 at the Anschutz Sports Pavillion. Jones is majoring in social welfare and said he was recommended by Professor Alice Lieberman. Deans of each school within the University were allowed to invite students from their respective schools to stand behind President Obama during the speech. Jones said he was thrilled to be chosen to represent the School of Social Welfare, as well as have the opportunity to speak with fellow representative students in the School of Social Welfare. Jones shared five points that resonated with him from Thursday’s speech.

Five takeaways:

  1. “The first thing I took away was how funny he was. I really liked that he incorporated that into his speech. I like that he used people and used his fingers to point and incorporate members of the crowd. I like that he looked at everybody and made sure he collected his thoughts.”

  2. “I like his ideas and I think he has a good plan to figure out what needs to be done, and he’s going to take care of things. I think child care is very important. I liked when he had (senior) Alyssa (Cole) come up there and talk about what she’s been through and some of the hardships she’s going through. I think addressing parents in college is important because she’s taking the steps to make her way and be as successful as possible so she can raise her kids to be successful in their lives, so that really hit home for me.”

  3. “The third takeaway I had was how great he was to have at KU, and how grateful he was to have students sitting behind him, working hard and fulfilling their goals so they can be successful.”

  4. “The fourth takeaway I got from Obama was how laid back and chill, calm and collected he was. He was very confident and very relaxed. He didn’t seem like he was worried about anything. He wasn’t rushing, and he was sure to take his time.”

  5. “The fifth and final takeaway I’d have was how he seemed to engage everybody and keep everyone into his speech. It didn’t seem too long or too short. I do wish he would have talked more, but that’s just something I took away from it. I just loved having him here. The last president hasn’t come for [maybe] a hundred years, so it was great having him at KU.”