An AP photo of Ted Kennedy touring the Wesleyan campus with his son, then-freshman Ed Jr. ’83, and his then wife Joan, on November 12, 1979:
[From the NY Times Caucus Blog, via Eli Allen]
Sad news – Senator Ted Kennedy Hon’84, one of the most dynamic and influential figures in American politics in recent decades, died last night at the age of 77.
Kennedy was to be the commencement speaker at Wesleyan last May, but ceded the stage to Barack Obama after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. He received an honorary degree from Wesleyan in 1984, and both his son, Edward Kennedy Jr., and his stepdaughter Caroline Raclin are Wes alumni (’83 and ’08, respectively). Read his epic obituary in the New York Times.
Here’s a tribute to Kennedy from the Boston Globe:
Ted Kennedy returned to the Senate yesterday after for the first time since the brain surgery for his malignant tumor. He just showed up to vote on an important Medicare bill, but his standing ovation wouldn’t stop for two minutes.
From the NYTimes:
Looking steady but flushed in his first visit to the Capitol since his cancer was discovered in late May, Mr. Kennedy was quickly surrounded by senators who could barely keep from overwhelming him despite cautions to keep their distance because his treatments have weakened his immune system.
Democrats were overjoyed and Republicans stood, smiled and applauded as well, though some looked uneasy as it dawned on them that once again Mr. Kennedy was about to hand them a stinging defeat on health care policy. The defeat was sealed once Mr. Kennedy delivered a clear “aye” in his familiar but recently absent baritone accompanied by twin thumbs-up.
“I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to be able to express my voice and my vote,” Mr. Kennedy told reporters as he left the Capitol to return to Massachusetts and resume his treatments.
Peter Applebome of the New York Times sums up the strange, end-of-the-year events and attempts to discuss the character of Wesleyan:
“Students have somewhat mixed feelings. In a brand-name world (and a recession job market), students care about the Wesleyan brand, too, and can do without the more baroque post-hippie notions of life there. On the other hand, some worry that the administration is too intent on creating a watered-down, made-for-the-rankings image.”
Interesting, the first article I’ve read that hasn’t just addressed all these issues in isolation. Check it.
Holly Wood, Alex Rosen and M. Roth cited.
“Ted and I talked about me filling in for him at Wesleyan University earlier this week,” Mr. Obama said in a statement. “Considering what he’s done for me and for our country, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him. So I’m looking forward to standing in his place on Sunday even though I know I won’t be able to fill his shoes.”
EDIT: President Roth confirms via email:
It gives me great pleasure to announce that on Sunday, May 25, 2008, United States Senator Barack Obama will deliver the Commencement Address at the 176th Commencement Ceremony at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.Senator Obama is honored to speak on behalf of United States Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who was previously scheduled to deliver the address.
. . . (quotation above follows)[Marianna, 4:29]
Washington Post (check out the comments thread for more on Wesleyan vs. Wellesley)
Fox News (note the mispelling in the URL)
. . . and click here for more.[Xue, 9:26]
I just got off the phone with David Pesci, Wesleyan’s Director of Media Relations, asking him about the latest news about Sunday’s Commencement Ceremony. He says, “Of course our thoughts and prayers are with the Senator and his family. We’ve been talking with representatives from the Senator’s office and the Kennedy family, and as of today (5:00 Wednesday), I have not heard one way or the other whether the Senator is attending the ceremony, and whether he will speak or not.” He also mentioned that he hasn’t heard anything about other possible replacement speakers.
I think all of us at Wesleying wish Ted Kennedy all the rest he needs, and here’s hoping for the best possible news about the specific type of glioma he has (though even the best possible news, in this case, is still a tragedy). Our thoughts and prayers are also with the Senator and his family.
We’ll still keep you updated about Commencement as soon as we receive any more news.
“Veteran Senator leaves Massachusetts General Hospital to return to his home in Hyannisport. Surrounded by family, smiling Bay Stater offers waves, thumbs-ups before climbing into SUV, with his dogs in the back. Watch video above. Hospital statement says Kennedy has “recovered remarkably quickly” from the biopsy that identified his malignant brain tumor. E-mail from his wife says Kennedy is “making me crazy (and making me laugh)” by pushing to participate in a weekend sailing race.” from thepage.time.com
A hopeful sign for seniors?
(Edited by Mad to a Youtube video instead)
As of 1:15 this afternoon, the Associated Press is reporting that Senator Kennedy was diagnosed earlier today with a malignant brain tumor in his left parietal lobe. According to the brief report, treatment (which will be fine-tuned after more tests) will probably include radiation and chemotherapy. However, the senator has not suffered any further seizures and is “resting comfortably.”
Still no word from the administration on whether Senator Kennedy will be speaking at commencement (probably because they are waiting to be able to make a statement one way or the other.) Meanwhile, we at Wesleying send our best to Kennedy and his family here and elsewhere.