Lakeland professor recalls JFK's campus visit, assassination
President Arthur Krueger in the left of the frame after he introduced JFK, who was giving a speech in Founder’s Gym.
J. Garland Schilcutt was relaxing in the campus trailer he called home on that March day back in 1960, when he noticed a plume of dust rising from the nearby road.
“I looked outside and saw a caravan of six or seven cars and a bus,” recalled Lakeland College’s longtime professor of business administration, who then was in just his second year of teaching at the school.
“I wasn’t that political at the time, but I made my way over to Founder’s Gym, where then-Sen. Kennedy was speaking. It was very crowded, mostly with town folk. Of course, his entourage was milling about in there.”
Schilcutt stood at the back of the room, next to a national reporter who was covering John F. Kennedy’s campaign visit to Lakeland. About eight months later, the Democrat Kennedy defeated Republican Richard Nixon for the Presidency of the United States.
Schilcutt said he doesn’t remember details of Kennedy’s speech that day, other than noting that Kennedy was a “nice-looking guy who spoke funny," referring to Kennedy's Massachusetts accent.
“I didn’t see any kind of aura about him,” Schilcutt recalled. “I have to be honest.”
But Schilcutt did vote for Kennedy, noting with a smile, “I didn’t like Nixon, and I thought Jackie (Kennedy’s wife) was prettier than Pat (Nixon’s wife). Those were the things I thought about back then.”
Almost exactly three years after his victory, Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, sending shockwaves across the nation. That was a school day at Lakeland, and Schilcutt remembers it much more clearly than Kennedy’s visit.
“I was in the Muskie Inn, which back then used to be our snack bar, down in the basement of (Jubilee Hall, now William A. Krueger Hall),” Schilcutt said. “And suddenly, someone came running in yelling, ‘Did you hear? Did you hear? President Kennedy’s been shot!’
“We were all shocked, grief-stricken really. There were tears shed.”
As he sat in his office this week, talking about Kennedy’s visit and sudden death, Schilcutt was asked if it seems like 50 years have gone by.
“At first, it doesn’t really seem that long ago,” he said. “But then, when I really think about it, a lot of years have gone by. A lot of water has gone over the falls.”
Nation pauses to remember JFK assassination
President John F. Kennedy visits Lakeland College in 1960
Today, millions of Americans will pause to mark the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963.
Kennedy’s death stunned the world, and while today it is a history lesson or television documentary for many, it remains a fascination thanks, in part, to several story lines and subplots intertwined in and around the event, said Lakeland College Associate Professor of History Rick Dodgson.
“The assassination has become an almost mythical event, a national obsession” said Dodgson, an expert on 20th Century American history. “The fact that the details of the case were mishandled and that there were holes in the investigation gave rise to all sorts of conspiracy theories. Set in the Cold War, with the assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, only recently returned from living in Russia, the whole thing reads like a real life James Bond movie.”
The last presidential assassination before Kennedy was William McKinley, who was shot by an anarchist while attending the Pan American Exhibition in Buffalo, N.Y., in fall 1901. McKinley’s death caused an outpouring of national grief, but his assassination did not generate the same sort of long-term interest as Kennedy’s. Dodgson suggests that is largely the result of media coverage.
“Just like the first presidential debate between Kennedy and Richard Nixon, all these events were viewed in real time by an American television audience,” Dodgson said. “The shooting of Oswald occurred on live television. Kennedy’s assassination was the start of the modern media age.”
The assassination took on additional significance in the years to come. Dodgson noted that many historians believe Kennedy’s death helped his successor, Lyndon Baines Johnson, persuade Congress to approve two landmark pieces of legislation – the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. “Most historians believe their passage would have been more difficult had that tragedy not been hanging over the country,” Dodgson said.
And the story remains relevant today because people use notable events like Kennedy’s assassination to place themselves in the context of history, Dodgson said. “If you can remember where you were when Kennedy died or when the Challenger exploded or when the planes hit the World Trade towers, that makes you a witness to history,” Dodgson said. “It’s a shared experience that adds to our sense of American identity.”
International Food Festival hits Lakeland
Lakeland College’s Global Student Association will present its annual International Food Festival on Saturday, Nov. 23, in the college’s cafeteria, in the Younger Family Campus Center.
Students from 13 countries prepared dishes from their homeland, giving their fellow students and community members a chance to sample some native dishes.
Lakeland to bring South Korean teachers to Kiel kindergarten
Kiel kindergarten classrooms will welcome student teachers from South Korea next fall thanks to an agreement with Lakeland College.
Lakeland and Koje College in Geoje, South Korea, signed an agreement earlier this month creating a Global Internship Program.
Students from Koje’s Early Education Department will come to Lakeland in August 2014 to take English classes and have two opportunities to interact with local children.
The first Koje cohort, which will include four students, will volunteer in Lakeland’s daycare during August and September. Then, in October and November, they will volunteer half-days in kindergarten classrooms at Zielanis Elementary School in Kiel.
The program is expected to continue on a yearly basis.
Jen Siebert, Lakeland’s director of international programs, said Koje has a need for teachers, and due to the international makeup of the region, speaking English is important.
“These internships will give Koje students an opportunity to use their English skills in American classrooms, which will be invaluable experience when they graduate,” Siebert said. “We reached out to our contacts at Zielanis Elementary and they were enthusiastic about welcoming these students into their classrooms. These internships will be valuable international experiences for all involved.”
The agreement was signed at Koje in early November during a week-long visit to South Korea by Siebert and Lakeland Interim President Dan Eck.
Lakeland and Koje initially signed a sister school agreement in 2008, which was renewed during this recent visit. Under the agreement, accounting students from Koje can finish the final two years of their bachelor’s degree at Lakeland. Also, each summer, Koje sends students to participate in Lakeland’s English Language Institute (ELI).
Eck and Siebert also visited Ansan University in Ansan, a suburb of Seoul. Lakeland and Ansan have had a sister school agreement since 2006.
Like Koje, each summer Ansan sends students to Lakeland’s ELI. Lakeland sends up to six students to Ansan each July to participate as conversation partners at Ansan’s English Camp. Last fall, four Ansan students participated in an internship program at Lakeland, enrolling in the ELI and working in on-campus departments.
Horace Mann tops Middle School Math Meet
A team of students from Horace Mann Middle School topped a field of 278 students from 11 schools to win the 23rd annual Michael J. Devaney Lakeland College Middle School Math Meet, held Monday night at Lakeland.
Members of the winning team included eighth-graders Preston Pond, Zachari Schroeder and Hannah Redlich; seventh graders Julia Henke, Juliet Chang, Seamus Kennedy and Erin Konter; and sixth-grader Ian Zempel. The team finished with a total of 217 of 380 possible points.
Students compete in teams of eight, first working individually on four sets of four problems, then as a team on the last six exercises.
In second place was Howards Grove team No. 1 with 205 points, and in third place was Urban No. 1 with 204 points. The next three places went to Cedar Grove-Belgium No. 1, Farnsworth No. 3 and Lake Country Academy No. 1.
The individual winner was Horace Mann eighth-grader Preston Pond with a score of 39 out of 40. In second place, with a score of 36, was seventh-grader Jack Baldwin from Howards Grove. Third went to eighth-grader Sam Butzen from Urban.
Rounding out the top seven scorers were eighth-graders Blake DeSwarte from Cedar Grove Belgium, Katie English from Seton Catholic, Reese Sarnowski from Urban and Ethan Traas from Urban.
Honorable mention honors were to Carl Pickhardt and Ella Reinemann from Urban; Sierra Thein from Oostburg; Tre’ Johnson, Chase Williams and Dustin Eilers from Howards Grove; Stephen Lavey from Cedar Grove-Belgium; and Augie Rice from Lake Country Academy.
The top sixth-grade score came from Garrett Scapellato from Farnsworth.
Other schools participating in the meet were Oostburg Christian, Sheboygan Christian and Sheboygan Leadership Academy.