In his prime

Robert F. Kennedy Photo credit: University Archives

In April 1968—just two months before he was assassinated in California— Robert F. Kennedy took to the Palestra stage during a campaign stop and lit up the Penn crowd. According to a Daily Pennsylvanian article from April 3 of that year, he was interrupted by applause 42 times by the crowd of 11,000 people, which included 1,000 fans listening to the speech by loudspeaker outside the Palestra.

Popular as he was with the Penn crowd, the DP story noted there were supporters of Eugene McCarthy—Kennedy’s competition for the Democratic nomination—in attendance, too. The article notes that Kennedy “became visibly angered by the obviously sizeable McCarthy rooting section only once. …Hecklers asked the senator where he differed from Minnesota’s McCarthy, at which Kennedy brought his appearance to a close with a statement that he, personally, had a contribution to make to the United States. This last statement brought the huge crowd to its feet cheering.”

For more on this and other notable moments in Penn’s history, visit the University Archives web site at

Originally published on November 2, 2006.

Originally published on November 2, 2006