Madison remembers JFK

Stu Levitan, Isthmus

Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1963
Cloudy, humid, high 48

President John F. Kennedy begins his last full day in the White House with a Western Union telegram to UW-Madison President Fred Harvey Harrington.

Kennedy congratulates Dr. Harry Waisman and his colleagues at the UW Orthopedic Children’s Hospital on that afternoon’s dedication of the Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Memorial Laboratories, funded in part by a $255,000 grant from the Kennedy Foundation. Kennedy, whose sister Rosemary had developmental disabilities and was given an early, primitive lobotomy in 1941, salutes Waisman on his efforts to “conquer the vast field of mental retardation and its attendant problems.”

In a six-hour visit that afternoon, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and brother-in-law R. Sargent Shriver, director of the Peace Corps, tour the laboratories, attend a scientific symposium and hold a dedicatory luncheon at the Memorial Union.

“The room was abuzz with excitement,” remembers Waisman’s son, Don, who hung up Kennedy’s coat. The Waisman Center, created in 1973, continues the groundbreaking research conducted at the Kennedy lab.

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