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JFK: 50 years on, millennials cross-examine boomer generation


The following Nov. 20, 2013, story by Reuters appeared in numerous publications worldwide.

November 21, 2013

In a Dallas college classroom about six miles from where John F. Kennedy was gunned down half a century ago, members of the millennial generation have been learning why the assassination was a life-altering moment for so many in the baby-boom generation.

For years, Tom Stone has offered a course at Southern Methodist University designed to teach students what matters about the Kennedy presidency and that fateful November 22 in 1963.

JFK Class
Prof. Dennis Simon (l.) and Tom Stone

"Most students, it's fair to say, just know that JFK is the president who got shot. Beyond that, they're pretty much blank slates," Stone said.

This semester he has been co-teaching a special course with political science professor Dennis Simon to coincide with the 50th anniversary. One difficulty is how to convey the larger turmoil created by the assassination to students with no frame of reference for cold war paranoia, the turbulent 1960s, and the romanticism attached to 1,000 days described as "Camelot."

"They don't know much about his presidency or why anyone would have wanted him dead," Stone said.

For Garrett Fisher, a 19-year-old student enrolled in the SMU Kennedy course, the occasion is a chance to reflect on a president who steered the nation away from the brink of nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis and whose personal failings included extramarital affairs.

"Our professors are exposing us to different writers who show multiple images of him as a person, not just a president, and we have to interpret that for ourselves," Fisher said.

Read the full story and visit SMU's JFK site.

The 50th Anniversary and SMU Experts In The News

SMU faculty members, the University Central Libraries Collections, and others associated with the University were used in the following news stories about the assassination.

On Television Online/In Print

The Associated Press


The United Methodist News Service

The Wall Street Journal

The New York Times

U.S. News & World Report

The Washington Post

The Dallas Morning News

The Daily Campus

7AD radio in Tasmania

Art & Seek

Gatehouse News Service

KERA Public Radio

The Houston Chronicle

The Toronto Globe & Mail