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Robert F. Kennedy on Campus – 1964

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Robert F. Kennedy delivering a 1964 campaign speech on the University at Buffalo Campus.50 Years Ago

On Saturday, October 3, 1964, an enthusiastic crowd of more than 3,000 students heard Robert F. Kennedy deliver a 1964 speech from the terrace of Norton Union (now Squire Hall) on the University at Buffalo’s Main Street campus.

Kennedy was campaigning for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Kenneth B. Keating, who visited the U.B. campus the previous day.

Kennedy made an immediate hit with the Buffalo students when he was asked who he was rooting for in the Buffalo/University of Massachusetts football game to be played later that afternoon. The Massachusetts-reared Kennedy quickly replied, “I’m for the University of Buffalo” while flashing a wide grin. The University of Massachusetts won the game 24-22.

The Robert F. Kennedy photos are part of the Prominent Visitors to Buffalo digital collection and come from the University at Buffalo Archives.

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Did you or someone you know hear the Kennedy speech? We invite you to share a memory about what it was like to attend the event.

 Robert F. Kennedy delivering a 1964 campaign speech on the University at Buffalo Campus. Robert F. Kennedy delivering a 1964 campaign speech on the University at Buffalo Campus.

Kennedy Attacks GoldwaterKennedy Attacks

Last Saturday, Democratic candidate Robert Kennedy spoke to the student body as the second part of the Convocations Committee’ s program.

The bulk of his speech was an attack on Barry Goldwater. Following his talk there was a question and answer period. When asked how he felt about the afternoon football game he said, “I’m for the University of Buffalo.” When asked if he had ever run for elected office before he said, “No. Have you?” When asked why he chose the State of New York he replied, “I lived in New York State longer than any place else. I have ties here. We pay taxes in the State of New York.”

Before leaving Mr, Kennedy added a little friendly advice. He said that we are dependent upon an educated people and that we must “face up to the problem and do something about them.” While discussing the role of the educated person he said that, “we have an opportunity and a responsibility.” When asked if the Senatorial seat was a stepping stone for the Presidency Mr. Kennedy remarked, “Then New York State is going to get a very nice Senator.”

Spectrum Newspaper, October 9, 1964


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