JFK’s Centenary: Reflections on JFK’s visit to Syracuse University

Local News

President John F. Kennedy would have been 100 years old on May 29, and a century later, lessons from JFK still ring true, even here in Central New York.

Before he was the President of the United States, JFK visited Syracuse University to speak to the graduating class of 1957.

“The big buzz around him then was that he was going to run for President…he was so young and handsome and successful there was a lot of interest in having him come to campus,” said Meg Mason, a Syracuse University archivist.

There was a crowd of about 4,500 people and 600 graduates packed in Archibold Stadium to hear from the young Democratic Senator from Massachusetts.

“He’s encouraging the students to pursue careers in politics. He acknowledges that politics is an abused field but he thought they needed more college educated politicians,” said Jerry Hoffman, who was a graduate during JFK’s SU address.

“It was a glorious day, and Senator Kennedy [said] a couple of things that I remember to this day.  Number one, he encouraged members of the graduating class to enter public service,” Hoffman continued.

At the heart of his speech, Kennedy urged graduates to use their talents developed by society to offer solutions to critical problems faced by the people of the nation.

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