The President And The Poet
A documentary about President Kennedy and Robert Frost and the importance of their messages in contemporary America.
“There is inherited wealth in this country and also inherited poverty. And unless the graduates of this college and other colleges like it who are given a running start in life—unless they are willing to put back into our society those talents, the broad sympathy, the understanding, the compassion—unless they are willing to put those qualities back into the service of the Great Republic, then obviously the presuppositions upon which our democracy are based are bound to be fallible.”
- John F. Kennedy, Amherst College October 26, 1963
Less than a month before his assassination, John F. Kennedy delivered what is considered to be his last major speech to a large audience. Educators, politicians, journalists and students gathered at the Amherst campus on the occasion of the groundbreaking of the Robert Frost Library.
Among those present was the Amherst College class of 1964: future scientists, lawyers, teachers and economists, one of whom would go on to win the Nobel Prize in 2001. Kennedy challenged this class to “put back into our society, …into the service of the Great Republic, …those talents, the broad sympathy, the understanding, the compassion” that Amherst had nurtured in them.
The men in the Amherst Class of ‘64 held the promise of their generation. They inherited a world that was changing radically before their very eyes. Fifty years later, as they convened for their college reunion, a handful of classmates decided to focus their reunion on a theme: "The world we inherited, and the world we will bequeath."
Believing they still have the minds and the passion to affect real change, a group initiates a personal inquiry into that which has stalled our country. The hope is that what results from those discussions might offer a legacy worthy of the man who charged them with the responsibility of the future of the “Great Republic.”
John Fitzgerald Kennedy -- A citation for the President of the United States reads more like a prayer to the heavens, for all hopes for the sanity of national and international understanding depend upon you. But while pledging our support, we can applaud your skill, admire your courage, and be grateful for your leadership. By virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of Amherst College, I confer upon you the degree of Doctor of Laws.
Calvin Plimpton, President Amherst College.
Reunion '64 is producing The President and The Poet. You can contribute to this project, which has a 501 (c) (3) tax status. To make a tax deductible contribution, make checks payable to Reunion '64 and mail to:
℅ Stephen Smith
1009 McKusick Road Lane North
Stillwater, Minnesota 55082
For further information, contact Stephen Smith, Amherst Class of '64 at Stephenesmithesq@gmail.com.