About 200 people stood and clapped in the Union Auditorium as President-elect Barack Obama was inaugurated shortly after 11 a.m.
The watching party, hosted by the Student Government Association and the departments of history and social work, had pizza and purple kettle corn and sodas. The auditorium and lobby were festooned with scores of red, white and blue balloons, some with Obama's image and the words "Hope" and "Change" and "Progress" on them.
Two television stations - the Fox and CBS affiliates - and radio station KRLD were on hand to interview and record the proceedings.
As Obama began to deliver a sobering assessment of where America stands and a hopeful vision of what it can become, students and faculty sat quietly listening.
"Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time," Obama said. "But know this, America -- they will be met."
It was a great speech and one that America needed to hear, said freshman political science major Alex Turner.
"He hit on all the conerns and fears we have right now, and at the end, all we have is hope," said Turner, who worked on the Obama campaign in Dallas. "He went through all that history, and during those times, all we had was hope then too. So either we are going to believe or we won't."
Seniors Yasmine Javeed and Saddyna Belmashkan, both from Fort Worth, believe the 44th president will take the United States in a new direction.
"He has fresh ideas, and we need that during these turbulent times with the wars and the conflict in Gaza, but he will bring a new perspective - an international perspective - that we so badly need," said Belmashkan, who voted for Obama at the University Union during early voting.
"Change is already being enacted because of who he is. Obama himself represents change," Javeed said. "To see a person so different from our past presidents up there taking the oath, I was just filled with pride and hope."