On Thursday night, we launched a great new UT institution — the Clements Center for History, Strategy & Statecraft. At an inaugural gala, friends of UT and friends and family of our late governor, Bill Clements, for whom the center is named, gathered on campus to celebrate the opening.
George Seay, chairman of the Clements Center Board of Advisors, grandson of Governor Clements, and lead donor for the center’s creation; William Inboden, the center’s executive director; and I welcomed special guest Robert Gates, former U.S. Secretary of Defense and CIA director, who spoke to the group about his life in national security. It was a great event and an auspicious start for this new center of scholarship and teaching.
I thank all those who attended and especially the Seay family for its leadership in this exciting new endeavor. In recognition of the birth of the Clements Center, the Tower was lighted orange.
What starts here changes the world.
Photos by Brian Birzer
The university will celebrate the establishment of the Clements Center for History, Strategy and Statecraft tonight, Thursday, Nov. 21, with a burnt orange Tower lighting.
Named for one of Texas’ most distinguished public servants, former Governor William P. Clements Jr., the new Clements Center will put the university at the forefront of the effort to study, teach and understand history, particularly as it relates to issues of American national security and foreign policy.
Governor Clements saw an understanding of history as a central tenet of wise decision-making during his time in public office, especially during his service as acting and deputy secretary of defense (1973-1977). He helped develop multiple important weapons systems, and mentored a generation of national security officials. Governor Clements was an avid reader of history and left a distinguished legacy of bipartisan service to his state and nation. The Clements Center will be a living legacy of the principles that guided his able leadership over our state and our systems of national defense.
This season, Hanukkah begins the night before Thanksgiving, creating an unusual intersection of the two holidays. The timing is culturally significant for Jewish Americans, and coverage requires historical and religious insight. Experts from The University of Texas at Austin are available to discuss topics related to the phenomenon that many are calling “Thanksgivukkah.”Expert Guide
Department Chair, Associate Professor, Department of Religious Studies
Newman’s research focuses on medieval Christian monasticism, especially monastic miracle collections and attitudes toward women and the poor. She is available to discuss topics related to the convergence of Hanukkah and Thanksgiving, and how this holiday mash-up affects Jewish Americans.
Director, Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies
Professor, Departments of History and American Studies
firstname.lastname@example.org (email interviews only)
Abzug's scholarship explores the formation of social and moral consciousness in American culture. He has worked in three major fields: social reform and religious life in antebellum America, America and the Holocaust, and, most recently, the interpenetration of religion and psychology in modern American culture. He is available to share insight about the rare convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.
Professor, Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Lindstrom is the author of several books and articles on modern Latin American literature and is coordinator with the Latin American Jewish Studies Association. She is available to discuss various topics relating to the convergence of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.
Associate Professor, Schusterman Center for Jewish Studies, Department of Religious Studies
Schofer specializes in rabbinic literature, ethics, Jewish law and mysticism. He teaches courses in Early Jewish/Christian Literature and Jewish Civilization. He is available to discuss the simultaneous holidays and what this rare event means for Jewish Americans.
Wednesday, in my role as chair of the Association of American Universities, I traveled to Washington to meet with congressional leaders including Democratic whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland and Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, chair of the House Republican Conference. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss federal sequestration’s damaging effect on university research and possible solutions as Congress negotiates spending levels for 2014.
Much of our nation’s scientific and economic leadership was built on innovation and research on college campuses and relied on public support. Sequestration is already hurting that research and limiting students’ involvement in the types of innovation that can change the world. We, as a nation, must move forward and support research universities as tools of scientific and economic growth.
Last week, the AAU, Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, and The Science Coalition, which collectively represent more than 300 higher education institutions, released a survey of U.S. colleges on the impact of sequestration, which took effect in March. They found that the mandatory cuts to federal discretionary spending, from which research budgets are funded, have led to a reduced number of new federal research grants; the delay of some research projects; and fewer admission, stipend, and research opportunities for students.
As AAU President Hunter Rawlings, who participated in the meeting, has said, “As we cut, and then cut some more, and as our competitors overseas increase their investments in research and education, we create an innovation deficit that threatens America’s global leadership. This foolish policy must end.”
Hunter and I were joined on Capitol Hill by officials from the Association of Public Land Grant Universities and presidents and chancellors from Ohio State, UCLA, the University of Maryland, the University of Illinois, and Tulane.
As always, I’m proud to represent The University of Texas at Austin in our nation’s capital and wherever I go.
More low-income students are attending college than ever before, but many of them are ill prepared for the challenges of higher learning. Now University of Texas at Austin researchers are finding ways to level the higher-education playing field with a new online learning model.
With a new teaching platform called TOWER (Texas Online World of Educational Research), psychology professors James Pennebaker and Samuel Gosling are transforming the way students learn. The findings, published online this month in the peer-reviewed scientific journal PLOS ONE, show the customized online teaching model leads to improved test scores and attendance for all students. But students of low socioeconomic status are benefiting the most.
In fall 2011, Pennebaker and Gosling integrated the TOWER system into their large classroom-based Psychology 301 course, in which they delivered personalized in-class quizzes, free online readings, small discussion groups, and live chats to each student’s laptop or tablet. Facilitated by Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services, the new system allowed the researchers to retrieve data about the students and see how they navigated the online tools.
The researchers found that daily “benchmark” quizzes, which were followed up with instant results on incorrectly answered questions, helped the students remember and learn from their mistakes, says Pennebaker.
“One important self-regulatory method to improve preparation and performance is to give students frequent testing along with rapid, targeted and structured feedback on their performance, so that they can adjust their learning and studying strategies in time to improve their grades in a course,” says Pennebaker, who team-teaches the course with Gosling.
In the experiment, 901 students enrolled in the fall 2011 TOWER course provided information about their parents’ education levels. The subjects took 26 brief multiple-choice quizzes at the beginning of every class. Eighty-six percent of the final grade was based on the quizzes, and 14 percent was based on online writing assignments. No final or other exams were administered. The TOWER student performance was compared with 935 students enrolled in Gosling’s and Pennebaker’s previous traditional Psychology 301 courses, in which four exams accounted for the bulk of the final grade.
According to the results:
- The new system resulted in a 50 percent reduction in the achievement gap as measured by grades among students of different social classes.
- TOWER students performed better in other classes, both in the semester they took the course and in subsequent semester classes.
- TOWER exam performance was about half a letter grade above previous semesters, based on comparisons of identical questions asked from earlier years.
- The daily quizzes encouraged students to attend classes at much higher rates.
The researchers attribute much of the students’ success to the daily quizzes, which required them to diligently keep up with the material. As a result, they developed better skills in time management and studying.
“These findings suggest that frequent quizzing should be used routinely in large lecture courses to improve performance in class and in other concurrent and subsequent courses,” Gosling says. “Repeated testing of students does much more than assess learning skills; it is a powerful vehicle that directly enhances learning and thinking skills.”
This fall, the researchers implemented the TOWER model into their live-broadcast online Psychology 301 class, called a SMOC (synchronous massive online course). Gosling says this new online platform will help instructors provide rapid, individualized feedback on students’ performance in massive lecture courses, a feat that is not possible even in average-size conventional classes.
“In light of the benefits of frequent testing with immediate feedback, colleges might benefit from adopting these methods during students’ first semesters so they can continue to benefit from the learning skills they acquire,” Gosling says.
Thomas Milner, professor of biomedical engineering, was named Inventor of the Year at the university’s annual Inventor Award Ceremony on Nov. 19. Milner’s inventions have helped physicians better detect and diagnose illnesses such as glaucoma and heart disease, and they have helped treat many dermatological conditions.Thomas Milner received the award for his development of light-based therapeutic and diagnostic procedures that treat or prevent disease in humans.
Milner pioneered the development of optical-based instrumentation application in clinical settings.
“As the holder of 35 patents and the author of five book chapters and 153 scholarly articles, Dr. Milner is a world-class intellect and a pioneer in the field of biomedical engineering and optical-based therapeutics,” said President Bill Powers. “We are fortunate that he has chosen The University of Texas at Austin as the home base of his career.”
Milner has developed a technology known as optical coherence tomography, which uses a fiber-optic interferometer in combination with a broadband light source to detect subsurface static and moving constituents in tissue such as red blood cells.
“The Inventor of the Year is chosen on the basis of the significance and novelty of a scientific discovery coupled with the commercial potential of the discovery,” said Dan Sharp, associate vice president of research and director of the Office of Technology Commercialization at the university, which organized the program to recognize the university’s researchers and inventors and their work they perform in their labs.
It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention. If so, then surely education is the father. When the two come together in a place like The University of Texas at Austin, magnificent things happen.”
— President Powers
He took his research beyond the laboratory in co-founding CardioSpectra, Inc., a San Antonio-based company that was sold to the Volcano Corporation. The multimillion-dollar transaction has been named one of the greatest return-on-investments for Texas’ Emerging Technology Fund and has contributed significantly to San Antonio’s flourishing biotechnology sector. Milner’s inventions have been widely used during the past decade in clinical laser treatment systems offered globally by Candela Laser Company.
“I congratulate Professor Milner for his contributions and for the impact they will have on society. This truly exemplifies our institution’s motto, What Starts Here Changes the World,” said Juan Sanchez, vice president for research for the university. “I also applaud the efforts of all the university’s researchers and inventors,” said Sanchez. “Their discoveries and wide-ranging intellectual contributions have positioned our university as a world-ranking research university.”
Milner holds the Marion E. Forsman Centennial Professorship in Engineering and is a Fellow with the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. He received the 2002 Coherent Young Investigator Award in Biophotonics. He has received numerous research awards from private and national foundations, such as Clayton, Whitaker and the National Institutes of Health. He joined the faculty of UT Austin in 1998.
This story is part of our yearlong series “Eyes on Innovation,” which explores UT’s world-changing ideas, fascinating discoveries and new ways of doing things.
The University of Texas at Austin Energy and Water Conservation (EWC) Program is asking the campus community to turn off lights, computers, and other equipment when leaving campus buildings for the weekend on Friday, November 22, 2013. Called Longhorn Lights Out, this voluntary initiative demonstrates how simple, individual actions can result in significant energy savings across campus. During the September 2013 Longhorn Lights Out, the university saved almost 17,000 kWh of electricity–equivalent to turning off 1,900 compact fluorescent bulbs and removing the greenhouse gas emissions of 2.5 cars for one year.
In support of Longhorn Lights Out, the Tower will not be lit from sunset on Nov. 22 to dawn on Nov. 23. The dark Tower will mark the third Longhorn Lights Out promotion and the first time the Tower has been dark for that initiative. (For safety reasons, the clock faces and aircraft warning lights on the Tower will be lit.)
On Friday, volunteers from the student chapters of Engineers for a Sustainable World and American Society of Heating, Air-conditioning and Refrigeration Engineers (ASHRAE) will assist with turning off lights and electronics, as they did in September. The Division of Housing and Food Service will participate as well, as part of the division’s sustainability efforts. EWC is partnering with Texas Tower Public Relations in the College of Communications to promote the event.
To volunteer for Longhorn Lights Out, send an email with your contact information to email@example.com.
To learn more about Longhorn Lights Out, visit Facilities Services website. For information about other initiatives to conserve energy and water on campus, visit Energy and Water Conservation program website.
Teenagers continue to roam in cliques in high school, as they have for generations. Yet according to a new study from The University of Texas at Austin and Michigan State University, high school students are not choosing friends from certain categories, such as “jocks,” “goths” or “A-listers.” Instead, they are forging friendships in the types of courses they’re taking.
The findings, published online this month in the American Journal of Sociology, show that the courses students take have powerful effects on the friendships they make.
The study, co-authored by Chandra Muller, professor of sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, indicates that schools should mix courses with high- and low-achieving students in order to avoid driving them apart socially and academically.
“Results from this study show how niches are formed through the unique pattern of course taking that emerges in each school,” Muller says. “The friends that students make through their courses may positively or negatively reinforce academic progress through high school and into young adulthood.”
As part of the study, the researchers analyzed survey data and academic transcripts from more than 3,000 students at 78 high schools across the United States. The researchers developed a new computer algorithm and software to identify the unique sets of students and courses from the transcripts in each school.
The results indicate course-taking patterns are unique to each high school. In one school, for example, friendships may form among students taking woodshop, Spanish and European history, while in another that may occur among students taking agricultural business management, advanced accounting and calculus. Students were more likely to make friends in small classes, often electives, that set them apart from the general student population.
A previous study by these same authors and other colleagues also shows that girls are more likely to take more demanding math classes if other girls in their shared sets of courses took advanced math. In other words, the peer groups that formed around shared courses had implications for students’ academic effort as well as their social world, says Kenneth Frank, Michigan State University professor and lead author of the study.
The researchers suggest that schools could better highlight the value of certain academic pursuits — such as math — and also group students together in ninth grade so the low achievers have high achievers in their classes potentially throughout high school.
The research was supported by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
Nov. 22 marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy‘s assassination in Dallas, a tragedy that still haunts the city. In their new book,”Dallas 1963″ journalism professor Bill Minutaglio and writer Steven L. Davis document the hatred, hysteria and fear that culminated in Kennedy’s death.
“Dallas had just simply become, in an almost initially unlikely way, the headquarters of the anti-Kennedy, ‘Let’s overthrow Kennedy’ movement,” Minutaglio said in an interview with NPR. “He was perceived to be a traitor. He was a socialist, he was on bended knee to so many different entities — communism, socialism and even the pope.”
One of Kennedy’s loudest opponents was Ted Dealey, the publisher of the Dallas Morning News, which printed a full-page advertisement attacking the president. Dealey had also previously flown to the White House to confront Kennedy directly.
And while Dallas will be forever linked to Kennedy, Austin was the place for events unfulfilled. Following the stop in Dallas, there was to be a reception for President Kennedy at the Governor’s Mansion and a fundraising gala at Austin’s Municipal Auditorium. Austin hotels were full of politicos who had poured in from across the state. The decorations were in place and the barbecue was cooking.
John and Jackie Kennedy return to their suite at the Hotel Texas at 10 a.m. In forty‑five minutes they will leave for Dallas. Kennedy’s aide Kenny O’Donnell comes into the suite with a copy of the Dallas Morning News. The president skimmed the headlines earlier, but didn’t look through the whole paper. O’Donnell shows him the full‑page advertisement denouncing him on page 14. Kennedy reads every word, grimacing. Finished, he hands the paper over to Jackie for her inspection.
He shakes his head and says to O’Donnell: “Can you imagine a paper doing a thing like that?”A flyer that circulated around Dallas prior to President Kennedy’s arrival, claiming he was wanted for treason for “Betraying the Constitution” and for giving “support and encouragement to the Communist inspired racial riots,” among other supposed violations.
Then he turns to Jackie: “Oh, you know, we’re heading into nut country today.”
Kennedy begins pacing around the hotel room. He stops in front of his wife: “You know, last night would have been a hell of a night to assassinate a President.”
She gives him a look.
“I mean it,” he continues. “There was the rain, and the night, and we were all getting jostled. Suppose a man had a pistol in a briefcase.”
He points at a wall with his finger and pretends to shoot: “Then he could have dropped the gun and the briefcase and melted away in the crowd.”
A few weeks earlier, he’d met in the White House with Jim Bishop, the author of “The Day Lincoln Was Shot.” Kennedy said his feelings about assassination were similar to Lincoln’s:
“Any man who is willing to exchange his life for mine can do so.”
And now, the ad in Dealey’s paper has brought back to the surface a reality he tries to suppress — there are people in America who would like to see him dead. He walks over to a window and looks outside.
“It would not be a very difficult job to shoot the president of the United States,” he muses aloud. “All you’d have to do is get up in a high building with a high‑powered rifle with a telescopic sight, and there’s nothing anybody could do.”
From Love Field, Secret Service Agent Winston Lawson is calling the Hotel Texas. He says that the weather appears to be clearing a bit. He wonders whether or not to secure the bubbletop to the presidential limousine. Kenny O’Donnell knows that the president never likes to ride under it unless it’s absolutely necessary.
“If the weather is clear and it is not raining,” O’Donnell says, “have that bubbletop off.”
In Dallas, people are tuning in to KPCN, the latest radio station to broadcast H. L. Hunt’s “Life Line” program, joining other local outlets that already air the show. As families race to get ready to go see the president’s motorcade, they can hear the announcer saying:
You would not be able to sing “The Star Spangled Banner” or state your Pledge of Allegiance to the American flag, because our Stars and Stripes would be replaced by the Hammer and Sickle. You would not be able to celebrate Independence Day, Memorial Day, or Labor Day. You would not be able to observe Thanksgiving as we know it today, thanking the Lord for his blessings and fruitful harvest. You would not be able to celebrate any holiday of freedom.
If communism were to come to America, never again would you be able to go off on hunting trips with friends. Private ownership and private use of firearms is strictly forbidden. No firearms are permitted the people, because they would then have weapons with which to rise up against the oppressors.
Inside the Trade Mart, all of the businesses are closed. Police are stationed at all entrances, corridors, balconies, and stairways. They are also watching the meal preparations in the kitchen. Seventy plainclothes cops are also on duty, and many of these will be dispersed among the luncheon crowd.
It’s not just the police who are providing security. Civilians have also been pressed into service. The local newsman who filmed the attack on Adlai Stevenson has been invited to the presidential luncheon. He has also been asked quietly, secretly, to keep an eye out for anyone he might recognize from the Stevenson incident, and to immediately report them to the FBI or Secret Service. Outside, dozens of police officers are on high alert. Cops are also posted on nearby rooftops.President Kennedy speaking to a large crowd in a parking lot across from Hotel Texas. Standing behind him (left to right) are state Senator Don Kennard, U.S. Senator Ralph Yarborough, Texas Governor John Connally, and Vice President Lyndon Johnson. [Courtesy Briscoe Center for American History] Left: Congressman Bruce Alger protesting LBJ in Dallas during the “mink coat mob” shortly before the 1960 presidential election. Right: Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson move slowly through the crowd during Dallas’s infamous “mink coat mob.” [Credit: Photographs by John Mazziotta, Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library.]
Despite the heavy security, a small handful of determined protesters has arrived from the Dallas‑based Indignant White Citizens Council. Each person is carrying an anti‑Kennedy placard: YANKEE GO HOME; KENNEDY, KING, AND CASTRO; and HAIL CAESAR. Some of the signs have small Confederate flags attached to them. The protesters have pieces of tape over their mouths: “To show that we are being muzzled.”
In New York, Stanley Marcus has just sat down to lunch inside the chandeliered Le Pavillon, an exclusive French restaurant that is also a favorite of the Kennedy family. He has ordered calf ’s liver lyonnaise along with a bottle of French burgundy for himself and his guests: a merchant from Sweden and a young woman from Australia who has recently entered the fashion merchandising business in New York. Although Marcus is fifteen hundred miles away from Dallas, he remains extremely concerned about the president’s visit. He has left instructions with his office how to reach him in case of an emergency.
The flight to Dallas will only take thirteen minutes, and during the brief up‑and‑down journey the president is at the rear of the plane talking to his aides — and complaining about the negative press coverage in Texas.
“It’s bad,” he says, holding a copy of one newspaper up for his team to see. “What’s worse, it’s inaccurate.”
General Godfrey McHugh, Kennedy’s personal military aide and the commander of Air Force one, comes to the tail‑area compartment and overhears Kennedy.
“If you think that’s bad, Mr. President, wait ’til you see The Dallas News,” says McHugh.
“I have seen it,” replies Kennedy in a thick voice.
The men watch as Kennedy paces the plane and then pauses. “What kind of journalism do you call the Dallas Morning News?” he asks angrily. “You know who’s responsible for that ad? Dealey. Remember him? After that exhibition he put on in the White House I did a little checking on him. He runs around calling himself a war correspondent, and everybody in Dallas believes him.”
And then Kennedy mutters a curse.Left: Lee Harvey Oswald’s sniper nest in the Texas School Book Depository building, photographed within hours of the assassination. [Copyright Flip Schulke. Flip Schulke (Flip) Photographic Archive; Courtesy Briscoe Center for American History] Right: Oswald is held for questions during a press briefing after the assassination. [Copyright Shel Hershorn. Hershorn (Shel) Photograph Collection; Courtesy Briscoe Center for American History] Vice President Lyndon Baines Johnson being sworn in as president aboard Air Force One, with Lady Bird and Jackie watching on either side.
By eleven thirty, the early‑morning clouds have blown away and the sun is shining brilliantly under bright blue skies as Air Force one completes its short flight, preparing to land at Love Field. Aboard the plane, everyone’s mood has lifted with the skies. Kennedy’s staff people beam at each other. They have experienced this phenomenon over and over. The president will fly into a cloudy or rainy place and suddenly the skies clear in time for his landing. They even have a name for this: they call it Kennedy Weather.
As the plane taxis to a halt, the tarmac is still wet from the early‑morning rain. A crowd of thousands is gathered behind a chain‑link fence. Many people have parked their cars right up at the edge of the boundary and are standing on top for a better view. This is an unusually large crowd for an airport arrival. The only question is: What kind of response will the president receive here?
Jackie emerges first from Air Force One, glancing up shyly as a huge cheer rises from the packed crowd. Her pink jacket reflects the sun, and her earrings sparkle brilliantly. In a moment she is joined by her husband, who is smiling broadly. The sunlight is dazzling, and golden rays seem to land directly on the First Couple, illuminating them with a special glow. More raucous cheering erupts. People are stamping their feet, jumping and screaming. There is mad applause for the Kennedys.
Members of the White House press corps glance at each other. This isn’t the reception they expected to see in Dallas. Earlier they’d been joking about the crackpots in the city, offering each other bets on when the shooting will start.Prepared remarks referencing UT football and Coach Darrell Royal for President Kennedy for a planned event in Austin that never took place. The remarks were written by staffers in Gov. Connally’s office to add local color to his tour of Texas cities. [From Connally press secretary Julian Read’s collection at the Briscoe Center for American History. Read's book "JFK's Final Hours in Texas" is an eyewitness account of the JFK assassination.] A United States flag in front of the University of Texas Tower flies at half-staff following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. [UT Texas Student Publications; Courtesy Briscoe Center for American History] A wire report from Connally press secretary Julian Read’s makeshift desk at Parkland Hospital. [Julian Read Collection; Courtesy Briscoe Center for American History]
A receiving line of local dignitaries is awaiting the Kennedys at the base of the steps on the airport tarmac. Mayor Earle Cabell’s wife, Dearie, presents Jackie with a bouquet of red roses. The original plan called for yellow roses, but every yellow rose in the state has already been spoken for, including the five thousand already set up at the Trade Mart.
The crowd is screaming so loudly that it’s hard for those in the receiving line to make themselves heard. As the president is greeted by Police Chief Jesse Curry, Kennedy leans in close and says:
“This doesn’t look like an anti‑Kennedy crowd.”
Others descending from Air Force One aren’t so sure. Their practiced eyes spot a few discordant notes among the welcoming signs: YANKEE GO HOME AND TAKE YOUR EQUALS WITH YOU and HELP JFK STAMP OUT DEMOCRACY. Another, referring to presumptive Republican nominee Barry Goldwater, reads LET’S BARRY KING JOHN. Most disturbing is the small, misspelled hand‑lettered sign on cardboard that reads YOUR A TRAITOR. One man standing high above everyone else is waving a giant Confederate flag.
Congressman Henry B. González of San Antonio spots the oversize flag: “I sure wish somebody had invented a spit proof mask . . . I forgot my bulletproof vest.”
Some of the reporters, studying the map of the motorcade route for this visit, notice that one of the streets they’ll be riding on is turtle Creek Boulevard. They begin to speculate what might happen if the president passes by General Edwin Walker’s house. It is determined that the route will actually miss Walker’s residence by about ten blocks.
Secret Service agents are tailing Kennedy closely, studying the faces behind the fence. Most people are smiling and shrieking in delight at the sight of the First Couple. The agents are guiding the Kennedys toward the presidential limousine so that the motorcade can begin. The president, however, breaks out of line and walks toward the crowd, which grows frantic at his approach. Grinning broadly, he reaches over the fence and begins shaking hands with people, thanking them for their support.
The First Lady follows her husband, and Chief Curry notices that two red buds have fallen from her bouquet. He leans over to pick them up. He plans to give them to his nine‑year‑old daughter as a souvenir. Curry follows the Kennedys over to the fence. A stranger who noticed his action asks if he can have one of the buds to take home for his daughter. Without hesitation the chief hands one over.
The electric charge between Kennedy and the crowd is unmistakable. Reporters observe that even some of those holding up protest signs seem charmed by the man. The huge Confederate flag, which was once being waved defiantly, has now drooped to half‑mast. Much to the dismay of his Secret Service, the president continues to work the crowd for several more minutes.
“Kennedy is showing he is not afraid,” writes one reporter in his notebook.
Kennedy finally stops shaking hands at five minutes to noon, and the presidential motorcade prepares to depart. It is only a three‑mile drive to the Trade Mart, but the procession will take a long, ten‑mile route that loops through downtown in order to maximize Dallas’s exposure to the president.
A car driven by a Dallas police officer will lead the motorcade. Following him are two groups of motorcycle officers who will form a flying wedge to keep curbside crowds off the street. Next is a white Ford driven by Chief Curry. Riding with Curry is Secret Service Agent Winston Lawson, who has coordinated security. In the backseat are the county sheriff and the head of the Secret Service branch in Dallas.
Five car lengths behind is the presidential limousine, a midnight‑blue custom‑built 1961 Lincoln Continental convertible. The car weighs nearly four tons and is over twenty feet long. It averages less than five miles per gallon. The limousine was flown in the evening before on a cargo plane and guarded overnight by police.
Texas Governor John Connally and his wife, Nellie, sit in the middle jump seat. The president and First Lady climb into the backseat. The rear seat is raised by a hydraulic lift so that it rides several inches higher than the jump seat in order to give the people of Dallas a better view of the president.
At the rear corners of the limousine are four motorcycle officers. Their main job is to keep the crowds from surging forward toward the president. Traveling directly behind the limo is the Secret Service car: a nine‑passenger 1955 Cadillac convertible with running boards for the agents to stand on. Behind the Secret Service car is the vehicle carrying Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson. Finally, there are other cars bringing up the rear of the motorcade and carrying congressmen, Mayor Earle Cabell, and other officials. Two press buses are at the very back. As the procession gets under way, the motorcade spreads out over ten blocks.
Leaving the airport, the cars turn onto Lemmon Avenue, the main route toward downtown. Few people are out on the streets this far from the city center. The motorcade speeds along at thirty‑five miles per hour. The plan is to slow down to twenty miles per hour in the crowded areas.
During this relatively deserted stretch, Jackie amuses herself by waving gaily to the line of billboards that greets their entrance into the city, advertising everything from hamburgers to whiskey. Now that the sun is out, the temperature has become very warm. Mrs. Kennedy reaches into her purse and puts on her sunglasses. Her husband reminds her to take them off — they need to be able to make eye contact with people, he explains.
About two miles into the trip, Kennedy spots a group of schoolchildren holding a long banner that reads: PLEASE STOP AND SHAKE OUR HANDS.
Kennedy calls ahead to the driver. “Let’s stop here, Bill.”
The excited children rush forward and swarm the car. A woman with the children keeps shouting: “It worked! Our sign worked!”
The streets are gradually becoming more packed in anticipation of the presidential parade. Many people have parked their cars along the right‑of‑way and are standing alongside them, waving wildly as the motorcade passes by. After several more blocks the president spots a group of nuns lined up to see him. He can’t resist the nuns. He orders the motorcade halted again so that he can shake hands with them.
Now the motorcade is approaching Turtle Creek Boulevard. At this intersection is Robert E. Lee Park, with the bronze statue of the Confederate general. A half mile to the left is General Walker’s home with its looming American flags. The procession turns right and passes under a twenty‑two‑story luxury apartment high‑rise, a modernist monolith billed as the “tallest, largest, and most luxurious apartment ever erected west of the Mississippi.”
Inside the building, on the nineteenth floor, Ted Dealey is making himself a drink. He has just returned from a checkup with his doctor and he’s changed out of his business clothing. He’s now in a sport shirt and he plans to relax. He has no intention of attending the Trade Mart luncheon on the president’s behalf. He’s all too happy to leave that duty to his son.
Dealey is looking out a corner window at the motorcade. It’s hard to make out much detail from so high up, but he sees a flash of pink down below. That, he figures, must be Jackie Kennedy. He walks back into his den and snaps on the television, where the motorcade is being broadcast live to the entire city.
Though downtown is still three miles away, the sidewalks are filling up with spectators. In some places people are standing three‑ and four‑deep, cheering wildly as Jack and Jackie pass by. No organized demonstrations are seen, but there are a few individual protesters. One man holds a sign announcing: I HOLD YOU JFK AND YOUR BLIND SOCIALISM IN COMPLETE CONTEMPT. Others along the way proudly brandish homemade BARRY GOLDWATER FOR PRESIDENT signs.
Main Street is only a mile away, and the crowds are growing even thicker. People are now standing five‑ and six‑deep. The smiles on the president and First Lady grow even bigger. It is clear by now that they are experiencing the largest, friendliest crowd of the entire Texas trip. The reporters riding with the motorcade are surprised by this massive outpouring of public goodwill. This is not what they expected in Dallas. Kennedy’s aides are not just relieved, they are nearly giddy with delight.
Excerpted from the book DALLAS 1963 by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis. Copyright © 2013 by Bill Minutaglio and Steven L. Davis. Reprinted by permission of Twelve. All rights reserved.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this post incorrectly identified Steven L. Davis as a 1989 UT journalism graduate. He is a graduate of Texas State University in San Marcos, where he is the curator at the Wittliff Collections.
The team consisted of graduate accounting students Sean Shen and Leo Chen, and BBA students Shannon Wey, Robert Ma and Janet Zhou. They took home the grand prize of $5,000 for the team and a trip to London over spring break.
The Beam Abroad Case Competition focuses on cases requiring an understanding of United States and international accounting issues, as well as the ability to demonstrate a global mindset. The teams are given a week to prepare their presentation.
Learn more about the McCombs School’s No. 1-ranked Accounting program.
Ashley Spencer, Morolake Akinosun and Kendall Baisden will join the Longhorn women's team, while Noah Zorsky will compete on the men's side.
Ashley Spencer, Morolake Akinosun and Kendall Baisden will join the Longhorn women's team, while Noah Zorsky will compete on the men's side.
Angela Ortega will be inducted to the Cardinal Hall of Fame at Trinity Valley Community College this fall.
ESPNU picks up a pair of road matches, while FSN adds the Oct. 19 home match against Iowa State.
The Big 12 Conference game is LHN's third exclusive national telecast of the 2013 Football season.
The Big 12 Conference game is LHN's third exclusive national telecast of the 2013 Football season.
Texas' quest for a national championship in college football had followed a star-crossed path.
Texas-Ex Jimmy Feigen anchors the USA's 4x100m freestyle relay to silver after joining Ricky Berens in the relay's preliminary round.
UT rising senior diver Maren Taylor was the fourth diver with Texas connections to reach a final in Barcelona.
WR Jake Oliver from Dallas, Texas, is one of the members of the 2013 freshmen class.