Dr. Jill Biden defended her doctorate after the Washington Street Journal published an op-ed on December 11 written by Joseph Epstein, who said that the future First Lady should not use the “Dr.” honorific when her husband takes office because she isn’t a medical doctor. “That was such a surprise,” Dr. Biden told Stephen Colbert during her and President-elect Joe Biden‘s appearance on The Late Show. Even Stephen shared how shocked he was by the criticism the writer chose to dole out.
Dr. Biden went on to explain that “it was really the tone of [the op-ed] that I think, you know — he called me ‘kiddo,'” the accomplished educator said, referencing one of the opening terms the writer used to address the future First Lady of the United States. “One of the things I’m most proud of is my doctorate,” Dr. Biden said.“I worked so hard for it,” she explained, referencing the years of work she did to earn her doctoral degree in 2007. Dr. Biden also reminisced that her husband of roughly 43 years was there when she defended her thesis, entitled Student Retention at the Community College: Meeting Students’ Needs. The president-elect couldn’t have been prouder of his brilliant, inspiring wife. “I got to hand her her doctorate on stage at the University of Delaware,” former Vice President Joe Biden gushed.
The future 46th President of the United States also told Stephen that, by that point, his wife already had two masters degrees. Dr. Biden earned a masters degree from Villanova University as well as a Master of Education from West Chester University. During this time, Dr. Biden was also working a full-time job and raising her and the president-elect’s three children.Despite the op-ed, Dr. Biden was most touched by the outpouring of support she received from so many people. “Look at the people who came out in support of me,” she said. Among those who voiced their praise of Dr. Biden was former First Lady and friend Michelle Obama. “I am so grateful. And I was just overwhelmed by how gracious people were toward me,” Dr. Biden said, humbly.
Through her husband’s term in office, Dr. Biden plans to continue teaching as a professor of English at Northern Virginia Community College, a position she’s held since roughly 2009. Dr. Biden will be the first First Lady to work a full-time job while also executing the responsibilities of First Lady. “It’s hard for me to think of it in historic terms,” Dr. Biden confessed. “I taught all eight years while I was Second Lady.” Dr. Biden did admit that she’s “really looking forward” to continuing her work as an educator and being First Lady in the years to come.