JFK at the University of Wyoming War Memorial Fieldhouse

The first public speech delivered by President John F. Kennedy in the Intermountain West focused on the diversity of the state of Wyoming and the importance of the youth’s contribution in protecting the country’s invaluable resources. The President was determined to continue the great conservation movement of the early 1900s.

The University of Wyoming War Memorial Fieldhouse was President Kennedy’s first stop in the Intermountain West during his 1963 Conservation Tour. The President arrived at the University at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, September 25. At 12:50 p.m., he was ready to address the audience.

Each speech made by John F. Kennedy during the Conservation Tour addressed specific needs and characteristic features of the place where it was given, and the University of Wyoming was not an exception. In the first part of his speech, JFK focused on the key role of universities in educating new generations and developing the talents of the United States of America. He addressed the students directly, emphasizing the importance of their invaluable service to their state and to the country. Kennedy then addressed the diversity of Wyoming and pointed out the importance of public investment in protecting and expanding the resources of the state and the whole county. The President talked about the protection of all nonrenewable resources (coal, oil) and mentioned the steps that should be taken in developing new resources, including ocean and space. He emphasized the importance of understanding of the environment and its value and suggested changing the whole concept of conservation. The contribution of the youth in conservation and the protection of the resources across the United States was crucial to ensure that future generations lived in a strong and prosperous country.

Kennedy then focused on the importance of maintaining the military and economic strength of the United States. In order to hold leading positions in the world, as well as protect their quality of life, Americans needed to use science and technology to not only protect the environment, but also to develop new energy sources, especially nuclear power plants. Like in almost all of his speeches during the Conservation Tour, Kennedy emphasized the importance of helping other countries of the world, encouraging mutual understanding between the Americans and the representatives of other nations.

JFK pointed out the contribution of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the conservation of natural resources in the first half of the twentieth century. Praising the great conservation movement of the 1900s, John F. Kennedy declared himself to be in favor of the third wave of conservation in the United States.

At 1:25 p.m. on September 25, 1963, John F. Kennedy departed the University of Wyoming Fieldhouse for his next stop in the Intermountain West.

Today, the University of Wyoming is a nationally recognized research institution. The War Memorial Fieldhouse located on the campus of the university is a 5,000 seat multi-purpose arena, which opened in 1951 along with the War Memorial Stadium.