SAC Courses, NHIOP Events to Commemorate The 50th Anniversary of President Kennedy’s Assassination

November 22 of this year will mark the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination. Given the monumental significance of the event, the response both campus and nationwide is sure to be of a sincere and reflective nature.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas. Kennedy was fatally shot by a sniper while traveling with his wife Jacqueline in a presidential motorcade. Kennedy’s assassination continues to be a subject of widespread debate and a tragic crisis in the nation’s history.

On Thursday, November 21, David Wrone, historian, author, and expert on the assassination of John F. Kennedy will present a talk, JFK Assassination 50 Years Later: Critical Issues as part of the JFK Assassination 50 Years Later: A Commemoration event series in the NHIOP auditorium at 7 P.M. Wrone, expert on the assassination of John F. Kennedy and former History professor at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, has conducted 40 years of research on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. He is also author to many books including, The Assassination of John F. Kennedy: A Comprehensive Historical and Legal Bibliography, 1963-1979 (1980), Who’s the Savage: The Documentary History of the Mistreatment of the Native North Americans (1982) and The Zapruder Film: Reframing JFK’s Assassination (2003).

Additionally, in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of President’s Kennedy assassination, Saint Anselm College offered “JFK Assassination” as a special topics course by the Sociology Department. The course is taught by Professor Dennis MacDonald, PhD.

“It seemed like an appropriate time to reflect back on the meaning of that tragic event for American society and the world,” said MacDonald. “From a sociological point of view, I believe that it reveals a great deal about the functioning of our major institutions at a time of profound crisis. There has been and will continue to be a flood of movies, books, television programs and magazine articles on the event – most having little or nothing to do with reality.”

The course focuses on two major aspects that are of continuing significance. First, students examine the assertions of the Warren Commission in its report and then examine the evidence on which such conclusions were allegedly based. From this, students develop an understanding of the need for turning a critical eye toward official pronouncements.

The second area of continued significance is the institutional aspect of the event. Students examine how the institutions upon which we rely failed to respond effectively to the crisis that resulted from the assassination.

“I think that it is more appropriate and more useful to look at government and other institutions with a critical, perhaps even a skeptical, eye,” said MacDonald. “I hope the students come away from the study of this event with a critical, rather than a cynical, perspective.”

According to MacDonald, there are multiple lessons that students taking this course will benefit from acquiring.

“I hope that there will be a realization of the larger significance of this event,” said MacDonald. “It was not just a crime, not just a tragedy for the Kennedy family, and not just a subject to be nostalgic about. There is a larger context.”