October 01, 2013

Events to remember John F. Kennedy's visit, legacy

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. --  A retrospective look at John F. Kennedy and his impact on the region, nation and world, begins Thursday, Oct. 3, at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

“Remembering JFK,” a series of special events, looks at Kennedy’s impact, including his visit to the university and the surrounding region during the 1960 presidential campaign.

Activities run from Oct, 3, the 53rd anniversary of Kennedy’s visit to McAndrew Stadium to Nov. 22, the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas.

The activities are all free and open to the public.

The “Remembering JFK” kickoff is at 7 p.m. Oct. 3, in the Student Center Auditorium.  Guest speakers include Lt. Governor Sheila Simon, SIU President Glenn Poshard, Chancellor Rita Cheng and Carbondale Mayor Joel Fritzler.  They will reflect on Kennedy’s legacy and his visit to Southern Illinois, including the university and Harrisburg and Marion areas. 

There will also be a short, student-produced documentary film highlighting Kennedy’s visit to the region and special music by Mel Goot, Sharon Clark and Kathleen Schaffner.  The evening will include music by actor and musician Les Lannom and Holly McKee.

Other events include:

Joseph McBride, author of the book, “Into the Nightmare:  My Search for the Killers of President John F. Kennedy and Officer J.D. Tippit,” will visit campus Oct. 25-26.  McBride, a volunteer in Kennedy’s Wisconsin presidential primary campaign, is a journalist and historian whose work has been widely published in magazines.  An associate professor of cinema at San Francisco State University, he is the author of biographies of numerous celebrities including Frank Capra, Steven Spielberg and John Ford.

McBride will speak at 7 p.m. on Oct. 26 in the Student Center Auditorium.

Another highlight will be the “Who Killed JFK?” debate at 7 p.m. Nov. 12, in the Student Center Auditorium. 

David Wrone, professor emeritus of history at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, will argue that Kennedy’s assassination is the result of a conspiracy while John McAdams, associate professor of political science at Marquette University, will side with the Warren Commission in saying Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone gunman.

Other plans include hanging a photograph of Kennedy’s speech at McAndrew Stadium in the Student Center.  Details for upcoming “Remembering JFK” events will be on the “Remembering JFK” Facebook page as they become available.  See the complete schedule and details at https://www.facebook.com/RememberJFK.

Sponsors for “Remembering JFK” include Students for Peace and Democracy, Graduate and Professional Student Council, Undergraduate Student Government and The Southern Illinoisan.