Generation Y Studies JFK's Life and Times

Forty SMU undergraduates have a unique opportunity to capture the zeitgeist of a turbulent time as the nation prepares to observe the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas on Nov. 22. SMU political science Professor Dennis Simon and senior English lecturer Tom Stone in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences are teaching a special course during fall 2013 that examines the life, times and legend of JFK.

The students and professors are blogging about their experiences here. Learn more about SMU’s experts and archival collections related to the presidency and assassination at

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Remembering the loss and the legend

An update from Rachel, a sophomore biology major and biomedical anthropology minor:

As I browsed the list of “Ways of Knowing” classes for the Fall 2013 semester, one class immediately caught my eye, “JFK: His Life, His Times, His Legend.” The name of the class possesses the same allure as the name Kennedy. My love of American history – specifically 20th-century history – spurred my interest in taking this class. I am so glad I enrolled.

The 1950s and ’60s represent my favorite era. The television, automobiles, advertisements, fashions, and the upbeat spirit that comes with post-WWII prosperity create an overall sense of the emergence of modern America, making it a time in history I would have loved to experience first-hand. John F. Kennedy fits perfectly into this era, defining it and America.

Our class takes a holistic point of view on Kennedy, examining his entire life, and the era of his role in government. Professors Simon and Stone teach the class with such passion and excitement for this topic. They utilize the holistic approach to provide us with ample information so that we can come to our own conclusions on JFK and the mysteries surrounding his life. We explore the writings of authors, historians, and scholars each with their own view on JFK, whether for him, against him, or anything in between.

I am excited to be a part of this class during the 50th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination. Though I have lived in the Dallas area my entire life and been to the Sixth Floor Museum for countless field trips, I am still entranced by the mystery surrounding Kennedy and his place in history. Arguably the most enigmatic figure in American history, John F. Kennedy has fascinated generations, and will probably continue to do so for many more generations to come.

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