President Kennedy stopped to greet a member of the crowd
as he made his way to the groundbreaking ceremony.
Two hundred and fifty State Troopers, in addition to Secret
S ervice and local police, guarded Kennedy when he was
Members of the media on a platform overlooking the
groundbreaking ceremony site
It was estimated that 10,000 people would attend the
groundbreaking ceremony, which took place on the
north side of the central campus quadrangle on the
site of the future Robert Frost Library. This site was the
location of the former Walker Hall, which had been
taken down to make way for the new library.
Photograph by Don Witkowski, 1963
President Kennedy being greeted by College Trustee
Kendall DeBevoise ’35, who presided over the
President Kennedy’s speech at the Groundbreaking
was approximately four minutes long. In it he told the
crowd that Frost had warned him “not to let the
Harvard in me get to be too important.”
The groundbreaking was carefully watched by the State Police.
Participants were, from left to right: College President Plimpton
’39; Harry W. Knight ’31; College Dean C. Scott Porter ’19; Judge
Leonard P. Moore ’19, President of the Society of Alumni; Harry
W. Knight, Jr. ’64, President of the Student Council; and College
Librarian Newton F. McKeon ’26. Kennedy did not assist with
the groundbreaking itself because he had injured his back while
using a shovel at a tree planting ceremony in Ottawa
a couple of years earlier.
Photograph by Dick Fish, 1963