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Amy Dalrymple, Published January 20 2009

More than 700 people gather at Minnesota State University Moorhead to watch inauguration

MOORHEAD – More than 700 gathered for a viewing of the inauguration at Minnesota State University Moorhead this morning.

Students, faculty, staff and community members packed the Comstock Memorial Union Ballroom to witness history.

Some were directed to overflow rooms to watch the ceremony.

Junior Suzanne Al-Kayali watched the ceremony with her mother, Barb Kayali, who took a long lunch break from work to be there.

“I’m totally pumped,” said the 20-year-old sociology major, who snapped pictures of the event.

Many professors canceled classes or gave students an assignment related to the inauguration.

Members of the Umoja Student Association, formerly known as the Black Student Alliance, sold T-shirts commemorating the event.

Jered Pigeon, president of the group that is named after the Swahili word for unity, brought his daughters, ages 5 and 10 months, to watch President Barack Obama take the oath of office.

“Even though they get antsy sitting in one spot, they can feel the energy,” Pigeon said.

MSUM's event, dubbed "A New Birth of Freedom", started this morning at 9 a.m. and will last throughout the day, including a lunch.

Still to come is a seminar hosted by the Leauge of Women Voters of the Red River Valley at 12:30 p.m. in Comstock Memorial Union Room 101, games and activities at 2:30 p.m. and a dance from 8-10 p.m. tonight.

For more on this story, read Wednesday’s Forum.