New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced his presidential candidacyTuesdaymorning at Livingston High School in Livingston, N.J.
Christie, who has been struggling in New Jersey polls recently, is also an ex officio trustee of the University.
He is the 14th Republican to have declared a presidential run.
NJTV News reported there were around 1,000 protesters outside the high school protesting, among other issues, Christie's actions on pension reform.
With supporters in the background holding "Christie 2016: Telling It Like It Is" signs, Sheila Goldklang, a friend and colleague on the Livingston Board of Education of Chris Christie's late mother, Sandy Christie, first introduced Christie. She was followed by a friend of Chris Christie's from Livingston High School and the University of Delaware.
Christie, whose family, including Andrew Christie '16, was standing on stage, noted the importance that the town of Livingston played in his upbringing.
"This is where my family raised me," Christie said, noting his mother and father had left the city of Newark to raise Christie and his brother and sister in Livingston. Race riots were occurring in Newark at the time.
Christie said his wife, Mary Pat, was just as important to his success as he was.
"[My parents] both lost their fathers at a young age and were raised by extraordinary women," Christie said. Christie's father went to work in the Army and then at a Breyers ice cream factory in Newark before going to night school at Rutgers in Newark, he said, adding that higher education gave Christie's parents hope for the future.
Christie's two grandmothers gave his parents $10,000 in savings to help them on a down payment on a house in Livingston, Christie said, adding that they probably had little more in savings than that.
"One generation removed from the guy on the floor working on the Breyers ice cream plant is the two-term governor of the state where he was born and raised," Christie said. "That's not only what my parents have done for me but what my parents have done for us."
Christie noted New Jersey's status as an ethnically diverse and densely populated state.
"We're all different and we're all on top of each other like you're on top of each other in this gym," Christie said. "We not only can do it together, but we have to do it together. This country can't do it alone. We have to work together."
As New Jersey governor, Christie said, he had refused tax increases for six years and made hard decisions on education, including reforming the tenure process for the first time in 105 years and changing pension and health benefits.
"We've stood together against every person, every cynic who has said, 'This state is ungovernable,' " Christie said, adding that he had proved the state could be led forward into a better future. "[The federal government] doesn't even pretend to work together anymore. ... We need a government in Washington, D.C., that remembers you went there to work for us and not the other way around."
Christie said both parties have failed the United States.
"If Washington and Jefferson and Adams believed 'compromise' was a dirty word, we'd still be under the Crown of England," Christie said.
Christie said the United States' weak education system has led to a general decline in the United States' position in the world and inaction in the federal government.
"I'm here to tell you that indecisiveness can be swept away by strong leadership," Christie said. "We recognize that truth and hard decisions today will lead to growth and opportunitytomorrowfor every American in this country."
Christie said Americans have to acknowledge that the federal government is not working but also that the federal government's failures are not the end but the start of a new beginning.
"Kids ask me all the time ... 'what's the best part of your job?' " Christie said. "It's the opportunity to do something. ... And that's why President of the United States is an even greater job for an even greater number of people."
In the same sentence in which Christie formally announced his candidacy, he said authority, strong leadership and the ability to make decisions were needed back in the Oval Office.
"We need to fix a broken entitlement system that is bankrupting our country," Christie said, using the metaphor of a horse escaped from a barn. "We've got to get it back in, and we have to do it by force."
Christie said business regulations needed to be rolled back and incentives were needed to encourage businesses to invest in the U.S.
The only force for good in the world is a strong, unequivocal United States that tells its adversaries there are red lines, Christie added.
"America will force the limits to that conduct," Christie said, adding that he believed Obama's foreign policy had been feckless. "This is the final confirmation to me that President Obama lives in his own world, not our world. ... I mean what I say and say what I mean, and that's what America needs right now."
Christie said New Jersey was recovering from "economic calamity" and natural disaster due to his efforts. He added he had stood up to special interests, worked with Democrats and told the full truth as governor.
Christie added his campaign would be run without spin, without focus group testing and without a focus on what is popular.
"Only in America have we seen time after time after time the truth of the words, 'One person can make a difference,' " Christie said. "We are going to go and win this election, and I love each and every one of you. Thank you very much"