Only six months before he would become President in the wake of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was in Cole Field House delivering a commencement address to the 1963 graduating class.
More than 12,500 people were expected to attend the ceremony on the morning of June 8. While the paper wasn’t running when he gave his speech due to summer break, the May 21, 1963, Diamondback carried the announcement of Johnson’s upcoming visit and explained the circumstances surrounding the appearance by the vice president. One factor noted in the report was that both LBJ and UMD President Wilson Elkins were native Texans.
At the time Johnson was simply the vice president under Kennedy after he had lost to the President in the 1960 Democratic Primary. As President, Johnson would play a large role in advancing Civil Rights and social services while also getting America entangled in the Vietnam War.
Johnson’s future vice president, Hubert Humphrey, would come to campus to speak only two years later.
The Diamondback is the university’s primary student newspaper, and its coverage of campus events provides an invaluable perspective on the university’s history. Thanks to generous donations and a successful Launch UMD campaign, the University Archives is digitizing the entire run of the newspaper, which is currently available on microfilm in the University Archives and McKeldin Library. This post is the part of a series based on information collected during the Diamondback Digitization Project. Check out the Twitter hashtag #digiDBK or the DigiDBK tag on our Terrapin Tales blog for previous posts, and watch for more DigiDBK posts from our team throughout the coming months!