President John F. Kennedy speaks at the 1963 SDSU commencement.

President John F. Kennedy speaking at the June 6, 1963, commencement ceremony at SDSU.

Many years have passed since June 6, 1963, but some people around here remember that as the day the President came to campus. Here’s an excerpt from Special Collections’ Website that briefly describes how President John F. Kennedy’s visit came to pass and a little of what he spoke about:

On June 6, 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered San Diego State College’s commencement address before approximately 30,000 people at the Aztec Bowl. He was awarded an honorary doctor of law degree during the commencement exercise at San Diego State University. It was the first honorary doctoral degree awarded by any California State University campus. Following a letter to President Kennedy in which Associated Students President Bob Weir asked him to consider giving the 1963 commencement address, California Governor Edmund Brown extended a formal invitation to the President on April 18, 1963. On May 16, a letter from Kennedy’s aide Ken O’Donnell addressed to President Malcolm Love was received confirming that Kennedy would be honored to accept the honorary degree. In his commencement address he said, “As a nation, we have no deeper concern, no older commitment and no higher interest than a strong, sound and free system of education for all. In fulfilling this obligation to ourselves and our children, we provide for the future of our nation-and for the future of freedom.”

Learn more about President Kennedy and his historic visit to SDSU:

Special Collections Online Exhibit
Highlights from the library’s 2003 Kennedy exhibit
Fall 2004 The Dome article about The Kennedy Collection