Malcolm Love and Maurice Lemme "hood" President John F. Kennedy
President John F. Kennedy gives his speech
President Kennedy stands next to Governor
Pat Brown as Malcolm Love gives his remarks.
(Photos courtesy of Special Collections and University Archives,
Library and Information Access, San Diego State University)

Your mention of JFK's visit to SD for SDSC's graduation in 1963 really hit home. I've been trying to find photos of the SDSC graduation ceremony for over a year. My Dad, Dr. Maurice M. Lemme, was the graduate dean at that time, and I would dearly like to have a copy of any photos of him hooding JFK. I believe (at least that's how I remember it) JFK received an honorary doctoral degree. Both President Love and my Dad were on the podium. The honorary doctoral degree was a big deal because this was the beginning of the joint doctorate program with the UC system for chemistry -- Cynthia Lemme Crow '61

My recollection of JFK's '63 visit to San Diego is of the motorcade that took him to SDSC. My mother and I were on the SW corner of El Cajon and College to see the President pass by. What I remember most was how sandy his hair was; much lighter than on TV or in photos. Also, he was in an open convertible. After his assassination in Dallas, we'll never see that again. Though I now live right outside Washington DC, JFK is the only president I've ever seen -- and I was 9 at the time. My husband has seen President Obama's motorcade taking the president from the White House to Capitol Hill, a distance of about one mile. First there are numerous motorcycle police, then an armored vehicle with an automatic weapon mounted on it, then the presidential car with all the windows darkened, then more cars and motorcycles. And this is just for the president to visit Congress! My, how times have changed -- Susan Wilkerson McCasland ‘71

That photo of JFK standing on the podium of the Aztec Bowl choked me up. He visited San Diego State on June 6, 1963 while I was in the AFROTC. A number of the ROTC students were standing "guard" along the edges of the bowl. I was standing "at ease" stage left at the front of the audience in my uniform. I admired JFK and watched him closely. At 19, I was very curious about greatness. He seemed relaxed and happy to be with us. I felt we at SDSC had a special bond with him. When he was assassinated November 22, 1963 it was a terrible blow. We heard about it in the computer lab and then ran over to the TV department. We watched the TV coverage the rest of the afternoon. Deep sadness. For a long time afterward the sign painted on the hill that I had to look at as I drove to school pained me each time I had to looked at it. "Farmer's Frolic - November 22" it said, reminding us of the dance scheduled that night --
Bill Copeland '61

I remember walking up to El Cajon Blvd. right across from Blessed Sacrament to see his procession. I don't know if it was lunch hour or if they just let us out of school. I can't remember if Jackie was with him, but he looked great -- tan, youthful, and very presidential. I could relate to him! A stark contrast to President Eisenhower I saw downtown a few years Earlier --
Bob Zito ‘64

My dad was a professor at SDSC and sat in the group behind Kennedy when he spoke. We kids got to sit up front to watch, but of course didn't recognize the significant when you're that age. I still have the ticket from the event. Are there any photos that show everybody seated on the podium? I recall that about twenty what seemed like giant helicopters took off from the parking lot after Kennedy spoke --
George Sorensen ‘69

You should know that there was a JFK fan club at Crawford, but it was very small. Myself, Howard Eckles, brother and sister emigrants from Peru, and a few others were members. We passed out flyers and went to speeches downtown and in Clairemont. We heard Teddy Kennedy in the basement of the US Grant. I got the impression that most everyone at Crawford was not interested and thought we were nerds for being interested in the Presidential election --
Merle Betz ‘61

I remember the day JFK spoke like it was yesterday too. I had three tickets to the commencement and my mother and brother James went to the ceremony. My younger brother Andy stood on El Cajon Boulevard when the motorcade went by. I can remember seeing JFK's shock of red hair as his limo pulled up behind Aztec Bowl. His first words were "instant graduate" and he smiled that beautiful smile and captured everyone's heart. My other vivid memory is of him climbing the stairs and waving to the crowd before he disappeared into the helicopter. He was as magnetic and charming and everyone remembers and it was one of my most vivid memories and I know how lucky I was to be able to hear him speak and see him in person. He remains one of my heroes to this day --
Donna Johnson ‘62

I got to see Kennedy twice!!! I remember when Kennedy's motorcade went up El Cajon Blvd. Mom, Grandma and I went up to see him. We noticed at the intersection of El Cajon and College that no one was standing in the street on the east side of college at the intersection so we went to the center island where the motorcade was to turn to go up to San Diego State. We went and stood on the base of the traffic signal to see him. Mom and Grandma stood at the base and I climbed up about three feet to the top of the base. We had a great view!!! My vantage point from the traffic signal was the best. I only wish I hadn't forgot my camera that day!!! Later when we got back to grandma's after the ceremonies we saw Marine One go right over her house. What an exciting day!!! Early November 1960 just days before the election (with Mom's permission) I skipped school when a neighbor invited me to go with her to see Senator Kennedy in downtown San Diego where he gave a campaign speech in front of the US Grant Hotel. We were right up front only about six feet away from him. What a thrill!!! – Nancy Watson Wingo

Thank you for that wonderful trip down memory lane about the Kennedy visit to San Diego. I was attending Blessed Sacrament at the time and I had gotten in trouble that day. I had staged a pencil drop at 10 am and passed the word all around school. A dignitary was coming to town so my punishment was to stand next to the Monsignor during the parade coming down El Cajon Blvd and to behave! The presidential motorcade came over to the curb in front of the church and President Kennedy shook hands with the monsignor, standing next to me. I learned at an early age that sometimes the risk is worth the benefit -- Janice Landry Cox ’68

I vividly remember seeing JFK the day he was in San Diego, I was in the seventh grade at Horace Mann and they let us out to see the President. I was standing on the corner of 54th st and El Cajon Blvd, right in front of the church there and he was so close that I felt if I reached out far enough I could touch him. What a magical time that was for all of us -- Linda Hughes Fantoni ’68

(Are you sure you weren't standing next to Janice? -- JF)

Thanks so much for the JFK photos. They are treasures. My friend Terry Crofoot and I somehow got tickets to the ceremony. We were graduating seniors at Crawford. Being budding journalists, it was really a special time. Every minute was a lifetime of memories. But I remember the three military helicopters thundering into the sky afterwards, not knowing we'd never have another chance to see this remarkable man. One of your photos showed how much our world has changed, and one of the alums also alluded to it. Only four secret service men riding behind him in the motorcade, and two motorcycle cops. And an open limo. Now we must hide our leaders behind three inches of steel, darkened windows, and have dozens of law enforcement types (including one for every six feet of the parade route) – Donn Dufford ‘63

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