Eli Capilouto

Guest Entry: 2013 Inauguration

Published: Feb 12, 2013

This entry is the first in a series of guest bloggers I am welcoming to this space over the next year. It will be an opportunity for faculty, staff and students to share with us their Wildcat experience. In this first installment, Sarah Geegan, an integrated strategic communications graduate, current graduate student and information specialist in UK Public Relations and Marketing, recently returned from our nation’s capital where she joined fellow students and alumni for the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony.

Please enjoy.


By Sarah Geegan

Last month I was fortunate enough to witness in person a monumental moment in United States history, the 57th presidential inauguration ceremony. Nestled under about five layers of clothing and equipped with the essentials (hand-warmers, binoculars, a camera and snacks), I maneuvered my way through the crowd of 800,000, my hands clasped around the arms of several friends from UK.

Standing on the Capitol lawn and watching the Congressmen, Supreme Court justices and the Presidential family file in was thrilling, as was hearing the President deliver his inaugural address live. Feeling the pulse and the excitement of the eager crowd around me-- people who came from California, from Texas, and from right around the corner in Maryland or Virginia -- was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Party affiliation aside, watching Barack Obama and Joe Biden recite their oaths under the Capitol dome, and feeling ― physically ― the energy of the crowd as this historic moment transpired made me feel as proud to be an American as I have ever felt.

Looking back on the weekend as a whole, I have to say that the word "pride" became rather thematic, and perhaps encapsulates the accumulation of my experiences in D.C.

I drove to D.C. with two undergraduate students; we had to drive through the night both ways to accommodate class and work schedules. When we arrived in D.C., we picked up our tickets from our respective Congressmen's offices and were assigned specific standing areas to view the ceremony. On Monday morning, we headed for the Metro at 6 a.m., anticipating long lines on the way to and from the Metro stop. While getting to the ticket entrance area was fairly easy, the line to enter the Capitol lawn stretched down several streets and around several buildings. We waited for about an hour, chatting with the people in line behind us, just to arrive at the security tents, which were very similar to airport security check points.

When we finally arrived in the viewing area after being thoroughly assessed by the refreshingly friendly Secret Service officers, I would have to say that the word "crammed" does not begin to describe the space around us. We waited for three hours for the ceremony to begin and made friends quickly with the people behind us-- ― the same people with whom we had competed for "good spots," and occasionally had to grab for balance as people moved their way through the confined area. When they asked us where we were from, we enthusiastically responded that we were from the University of Kentucky, and I listened with immense pride as my fellow UK students described our school and its accomplishments: things like a national championship, the great success of DanceBlue and the prestige of various academic programs.

When the ceremony finally began, we used our binoculars to peer through the inconveniently located trees in front of the capital, and viewed the various speakers. As I said, hearing the speech and experiencing the emotions of the crowd was truly incredible; however the best part of the experience was the pride I felt as I shared this moment with my fellow Kentuckians.

Over the course of the weekend, I stayed with a dear friend of mine, a UK alumna and former classmate in the UK Honors Program, Nikki Hurt. Nikki is attending George Washington University, pursuing a master's in public health and health policy. Throughout the weekend, I was blown away by her ability and commitment to balance her onerous school work, while also playing hostess to friends visiting D.C. She got up early in the mornings to read for her class, met with classmates for a few hours in the afternoons to review her material, and still managed to fully participate in the inaugural activities.

I was so proud to behold, first-hand, her passion for the field of health care policy, and to see how that translated into her excitement for an inaugural ceremony that symbolized an era in which health care issues are on the forefront of American politics.   

Outside of the ceremony itself, my fellow Wildcats and I had the opportunity to display our Kentucky pride during the UK vs. Auburn basketball game the Saturday before the inauguration. I have heard before that one can find a UK fan in any city in the nation, especially during basketball season, but I didn't truly appreciate this sentiment until that night. We found a sports establishment known to play SEC games, and before I knew it, the entire restaurant overflowed with UK fans. Within this particular building, the night was comparable to the nights I spent in New Orleans during the 2012 SEC tournament. Everyone was wearing blue. Everyone was cheering on the Cats. Everyone, I believe, felt the same overwhelming pride that I felt to celebrate a win with UK family despite being 500 miles away from Lexington. 

Touring the monuments and hearing the varying perspectives of the people I was with ― a public health grad student, a political science senior and an education senior from UK, as they took in this important historical moment in unique ways, but with the same enthusiasm and passion that has come to define the weekend, was a wonderful experience. I'm so thankful that I had that opportunity to go.


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LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Campus Sustainability Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Peanut Butter Drive
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Kentucky Men's Basketball Blue/White Scrimmage
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
Film Viewing and Discussion of The Other Boleyn Girl
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Oct 23
Career Assessment Workshop 10/23/2014
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