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October / November 2001

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UMaine Today Magazine

Lasting Impression

John F. Kennedy
Among the dignitaries on stage that day with President John F. Kennedy were, left to right, University Board of Trustees member W. Gordon Robertson, U.S. Representative Stanley Tupper and U.S. Sen. Edmund Muskie.

Photo courtesy of Fogler Library Special Collections

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The last visit to Maine by President John F. Kennedy included a stop at The University of Maine, where he gave an address and received an honorary doctor of laws degree.

That was Oct. 19, 1963. A month later, Nov. 22, 1963, he was assassinated.

The president was in Maine for an inspection flight over the proposed Passamaquoddy Power Project.

Kennedy appeared as part of a special convocation ceremony on Alumni Field during Homecoming. The 11 a.m. event drew an audience of 15,000; thousands more in Maine watched on television.

Kennedy's address focused on the meaning of the test ban treaty between the U.S. and the Soviet Union. He spoke on the need for a more exact understanding of the "correlation of forces" needed to conduct foreign affairs, and the spirit of "both preparedness and peace" that made the nation strong.

"In the months and years ahead, we intend to build both kinds of strength, during times of détente as well as tension, during periods of conflict as well as cooperation — until the world we pass on to our children is truly safe for diversity and freedom and the rule of law covers all," he said in his address.

It was the last policy speech the president gave.

"Lasting Impression" features a memorable person or event in UMaine history.


UMaine Today Magazine
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