Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A look back at presidential visits to AU

Theodore Roosevelt

• 1902: Laid the cornerstone of McKinley Building

• 1908: Gave a speech outside Hurst Hall while attending the Methodist General Conference

Woodrow Wilson

• 1914: Speech for the opening of the University

• 1919: Inspection of Camp Leach, part of AU used for chemical warfare activities during World War I

Warren G. Harding

• 1921: Commencement address in present-day Woods-Brown Amphitheater

Calvin Coolidge

• 1922: Commencement address in present-day Woods-Brown Amphitheater

Dwight Eisenhower

• 1957: Groundbreaking of the old School of International Service Building

John F. Kennedy

• 1960: Speech opposite the girls’ field hockey field during a political rally after the second Kennedy-Nixon presidential debate

• 1963: Commencement address overlooking the present-day varsity athletic field

Kennedy’s speech, which proposed limits on nuclear arms and envisioning a peaceful world, led to the Partial Test Ban Treaty later that year.

“I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children -- not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.”

Gerald R. Ford

n 1978: Speech at the present-day Kogod School of Business Building and at Kay Spiritual Life Center

Ford said Congress was going beyond its constitutional powers in the foreign policy arena, through acts such as the War Powers Act.

“We went from an imperial presidency to an imperiled presidency.”

Jimmy Carter

• 2005: Attended hearings in McDowell Formal Lounge as part of the Commission on Federal Election Reform

• 2005: Town-hall style discussion with students, staff and faculty in Bender Arena

• 2007: Speech about the Elders’ mission to Sudan in the Katzen Arts Center

“There has been no effort on the government [in Khartoum] to kill all of the black people in Darfur.”

George Bush Sr.

• 1981-89: Used the track at Reeves Field to jog during his term as vice president

Bill Clinton

• 1993: Spoke at Special Convocation celebrating AU’s Centennial year

Clinton called for economic strength domestically and responsibility abroad.

“Now, together, it is time for us to reach out again: toward tomorrow’s economy, toward a better future, toward a new direction, toward securing for you, students at American University, the American dream.”

• 1997: Gave his “Back to Work” speech in Bender Arena

Barack Obama

• 2008: Campaign rally in Bender Arena

• 2010: Speech on immigration reform in the new School of International Service Building

Obama called for comprehensive immigration reform. ?

“The system is broken, and everybody knows it. Unfortunately, reform has been held hostage to political posturing and special-interest wrangling – and to the pervasive sentiment in Washington that tackling such a thorny and emotional issue is inherently bad politics.”

SOURCE: Susan McElrath, University Archivist

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