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Back in the Day

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The campus welcomes notable speakers each spring, but none generated more excitement than President John F. Kennedy did on May 18, 1963. Dudley Field was packed as the president commemorated the university’s 90th anniversary. College of Arts and Science seniors Linda Armstrong (now Causey), BA’63, and Thomas Abernathy, BA’63, JD’67, represented the student body on the platform during the ceremonies and spoke with JFK.

The president later autographed a copy of his remarks as printed in the Vanderbilt Gazette and thanked Chancellor Heard by telegram for the welcome he had received.

The joy of the successful celebration was made poignant when Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas just six months later.

(1) John F. Kennedy reading the event’s official program;

(2) The Vanderbilt Hustler, Vol. 74, No. 23;

(3) Invitation sent to guests;

(4) Kennedy with students Armstrong and Abernathy;

(5) The Vanderbilt Hustler, Vol. 74, No. 29;

(6) JFK autographed copy of The Vanderbilt Gazette, May 22, 1963;

(7) Vanderbilt Alumnus, Vol. 48, No. 6;

(8) Telegram from JFK to Chancellor Heard;

(9) Vanderbilt band on Dudley Field;

(10) The Vanderbilt Hustler, Vol. 74, No. 30;

(11) Event parking pass

All images and historic items are reproduced courtesy ofVanderbilt University Special Collections and Archives.

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