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Voices from UW-Stevens Point ​


Remembering President John F. Kennedy on the 50th anniversary of his assassination

“I was in tenth grade in my high school cafeteria with a friend, and we heard the news on his transistor radio. I remember watching the funeral on television all day, as we had off of school. It was so significant and so riveting. The entire country was tuned in. For the first time we were all watching a national event on television.

"We were fortunate to have President Kennedy's leadership at a trying time in our country's history. I think the greatest lesson from this tragedy is the strength of this nation in a time of crisis. There was a peaceful transfer of power."


 Bernie Patterson, chancellor


 “I was in kindergarten when he died, so I didn’t understand at the time. I just knew that everyone was sad. As a historian, I think that people were grieving for the potential of what President Kennedy could have become. People had high hopes and then they were gone.”


Susan Brewer, professor of history




​​​“I was teaching a freshman European history course in the basement of what was the west wing of Old Main, when Kurt Schmeller knocked on my classroom door to tell me that Kennedy had been shot. I’m sure I cancelled the class after that.” 


Robert Knowlton, Stevens Point, history professor emeritus



"President Kennedy represented a new generation in the presidency with new ideas, described as the “New Frontier.”  His energy and intellect captured America. His death saddened not only those in America but many throughout the world. To this day a picture of Kennedy hangs in homes in Latin America.”


Ed Miller, professor of political science



 "I was sitting in Ken Stewart’s room going over the cases for our 11 a.m. Constitutional Law class when Doug Dunham came down the hallway and said that President Kennedy had been shot. Pretty much numb, Ken and I walked to class to be greeted by Professor Kenneth Smith. Tears streaming down his face he said, “I cannot talk about constitutions on a day when a madman with a gun can make everything I say irrelevant.”  

"We headed back to the fraternity house and got there in time to see Walter Cronkite inform the nation that Kennedy had died. The next several days were a blur. A service in the University Chapel, a long drive home, learning of Lee Harvey Oswald's death on the car radio, and the unbearable sadness that sat on us as we watched television for the next three days alternatively grieving and lashing out at what we could not comprehend. Not until November 22, 1997, and the birth of my granddaughter, did that date bring anything but sadness to my life."

Dennis Riley, professor of political science

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