Celebrating 150: Eleanor Roosevelt Visits Truman

University President Walter Ryle escorts Eleanor Roosevelt in Baldwin Hall. The former first lady came to campus as part of the lyceum series in 1961.

In the long and distinguished history of the Kohlenberg Lyceum Series, a speech by a former first lady is one of the more memorable events for many of those who were on hand to witness it.

According to the Index, Eleanor Roosevelt was greeted to a standing ovation when she addressed a capacity audience on campus in March 1961. The title of her address was “Is America Facing World Leadership?” Roosevelt felt World War I was the first time the country was engaged in world affairs and cited the prominence of transportation after World War II for making the world seem smaller. With her speech taking place during the Cold War, she took aim at Russia and the fight against communism.

“Nothing today is a domestic problem solely. We, as individuals, must realize world problems or the communists may win,” the Index quoted her as saying. “I believe we will succeed in the struggle against communism, but I realize we are facing one of the greatest struggles the world will meet.”
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