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Amherst College > News & Events > Amherst Magazine > Archives > Fall 2002 > "Privilege Is Here..."

"Privilege Is Here..."

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While Trustee Kendall B. DeBevoise '35 presides at the microphone, an elite shovel brigade including the college's president, dean, librarian, capital program chairman, and student council president go at it with brand new shovels to break ground for the Robert Frost Library on October 26, 1963. Seated behind DeBevoise are John Jay McCloy '16, chairman of the Board of Trustees, and John F. Kennedy, president of the U.S.

Kennedy earlier had given a major speech marking the occasion, in which he said: ". . . in return for the great opportunity which society gives the graduates of this and related schools, it seems to me incumbent on this and other schools' graduates to recognize their responsibility to the public interest. Privilege is here, and with privilege goes responsibility."

The speech was considered one of Kennedy's best. And it was one of his last. He was assassinated in Dallas 27 days later, on November 22.