June 5, 1960 - The 1960 Commencement Exercises - I Like Ike and Pope

President Eisenhower, Father Hesburgh, Pope Paul VIThe graduating class of 1960 had quite the star studded commencement address. Due to security concerns, the graduation ceremony was moved from the Stadium on to South Quad in front of the statue of Father Sorin. For the first time in over 100 graduation exercises, the President of the United States would be giving the commencement address. Also in attendance that weekend was Cardinal Giovanni Montini of Milan, future Pope Paul VI. In the picture above, President Eisenhower is to Father Hesburgh's right and Cardinal Montini is to Hesburgh's left.

President Eisenhower was a late addition as commencement speaker. Several weeks before graduation and without a speaker, Father Hesburgh's secretary put together a letter requesting the President be in attendance. Eisenhower obliged and interrupted his 45th Reunion at West Point to come to South Bend. This was not Eisenhower's first meeting with Notre Dame as he was on the sidelines for the famous 1913 Army-Notre Dame forward pass game. In his twenty minute address, he foreshadowed a U.S. government on the verge of social and political change.

"We do not want governmental programs which, advanced, often falsely, in the guise of promoting the general welfare destroy in the individual those priceless qualities of self-dependence, self-confidence, and a readiness to risk his judgment against the trends of the crowd. We do not want a government that assures the security and general welfare of the nation and its people in concord with the philosophy of Abraham Lincoln, who insisted that government should do, and do only, the things which people cannot do for themselves." (View the entire address)

That same weekend Cardinal Montini gave the baccalaureate Mass. Three years later, Cardinal Montini would be elected Pope Paul VI. But perhaps the one man who stole the show was Dr. Thomas Dooley. While both President Eisenhower and Cardinal Montini received honorary degrees, Dr. Dooley did as well. Even Eisenhower was interested in speaking with Dooley about his work in Laos and the MEDICO operation.

Keywords: tom dooley, president eisenhower, commencement, graduation, father sorin, south quad, stadium, pope paul vi, cardinal montini, father hesburgh, west point

Posted On: 2012-06-05 05:17:21 by IrishTrpt07


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