May 11, 2013(San Diego) — In 1963, President John F. Kennedy gave the commencement speech at San Diego State University and was awarded SDSU’s first honorary doctorate degree. Fifty years later, as SDSU prepares to confer degrees upon nearly 9,100 students May 16-19, his words on the importance of higher education for our nation’s future are still just as meaningful.
“A lot of what JFK said at that time continues to be relevant, including his recognizing California and San Diego State as premier sites of higher education,” said Rob O'Keefe, president of SDSU Associated Students. “Fast-forward to today, we see how things have progressed, how in just the past year things have been truly transformational for this campus.”
Half a century ago, Kennedy told SDSU graduates, "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." He reflected on the educated founders of our nation, the importance of an educated populace for the future, and the disparities in educaitonal opportunities across the nation. View video of Kennedy's 1963 SDSU commencement address.