Kennedy Foundation Gift Presentation
Jean Kennedy and Jackie Bouvier
July 20, 1953
Acting for the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, Miss Jean Kennedy and Miss Jacqueline Bouvier, fiancée of the junior Senator from Massachusetts, John F. Kennedy, today present a $150,000 gift toward the rebuilding of tornado wrecked Assumption College in Worcester, to Very Rev. Wilfrid J. Dufault, A.A., Superior General of the Assumptionist Fathers, who is here from Rome to supervise the reconstruction.
This gift brings to $5,260,000.00, the total funds disbursed by the Foundation since it was established in 1946 in memory of Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. U.S.N.R., who was killed while flying a special mission over Europe. Lt. Kennedy was the son of former Ambassador to the Court of St. James, Joseph P. Kennedy of Boston, and elder brother of the present Senator, John F. Kennedy.
Among those attending the gift presentation at Worcester's Sheraton Hotel were Bishop Wright of the Advisory Board of Assumption College, Fr. Armand H. Desautels, A.A., President of Assumption, Dr. Edward Prunier, Chairman of the Worcester Committee of the reconstruction fund drive and also the committee members and their wives, and Dr. Frederio Dupre', President of the Assumption Alumni.
Assumption College, whose student's were fortunately not in class that day, was the greatest single casualty of the recent devastating Worcester tornado. Damage to the five buildings of the 50 year old school has been variously estimates at between 3 and 4-1/2 million dollars. There was no tornado extension insurance. One priest and two nuns died in the terrifying 90 second blast and many other religious suffered serious injury.
In making the presentation, the Kennedy Foundation expressed hope that their gift would stimulate like generosity on the part of other donors. The Foundation said, "Assumption College has long been identified with the spiritual and cultural ideals of the French-speaking world. And we are glad to pay tribute to these by gifts."
The Assumptionist Fathers supply the chaplain to the American Embassy in Moscow. Since 1933, one of their order has been the only Catholic priest in Russia. Fr. Leopold L.S. Branun, A.A., who spent the war years in this post, is on the co0ordinating committee for the reconstruction of the College.
Very Rev. Wilfrid Dufault, A.A, in accepting the large gift aid said, "The name of Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., on a principal unit of our new campus…will be a constant reminder to future priest and students to remember in their prayers this young war hero and his generous family who proved themselves friends in our hour of need."
The statement of the Kennedy Foundation read:
"We are very happy that the name Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., will be commemorated on the campus of a school which perpetuates so many of the traditions at the heart of the civilization which he died defending. Assumption College has long been identified with the spiritual and cultural ideals of the French-speaking world. And we are glad to pay tribute to these by gift.
"It is the hope of the Foundation that our contribution to the reconstruction of Assumption, so tragically devastated by the Worcester tornado, will encourage the work of reconstruction and stimulate like generosity-not only among the College's Alumni and immediate friends, but also among those of traditions that differ from those of Assumption College.
"One of the privileges of life in the American community is the opportunity it gives to share one another's burdens. And in helping the Assumptionist Fathers to restore their unique educational institution, we feel that we are acting in the friendly, helpful spirit of Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr."
In accepting the gift for the Assumptionist Fathers, the Superior General of the Order, Very Rev. Wilfrid J. Dufault, A.A., said, "This magnificent gift-the largest single one we have received-in the name of Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., could not be better timed. It comes just as we have reached a full realization of our overwhelming losses and as we begin the gigantic task of raising funds for reconstruction.
"It is, therefore, an inspiring source of encouragement for us. We cannot possibly forget the friendship and generosity of young Joe Kennedy's family in thus coming to the aid of our school-designed to serve so many students scarcely younger than the patriotic hero himself in whose name this gift comes.
"The Kennedy gift will challenge our own alumni and other friends to proportionate generosity. The name Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., on a principal unit of our new campus will be an enduring memorial-and, indeed, a constant reminder to the future priests and students to remember in their prayers this young war hero and his generous family who proved themselves friends in our hour of need."
Ted Kennedy delivers speech at the Robert and Janet Testa Science Center