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"Investigating the Kennedy Assassination" course wraps up

Friday, Nov. 22 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, an event that defined America and the lives of all those who remember it.

In a final commemoration of the event, students in the semester-long course "Investigating the Kennedy Assassination" will present new, modern interpretations on the case in front of a panel consisting of Kennedy experts, academics and law enforcement officials on Tuesday, Dec. 3 at 5 p.m. in RU's McGuffey 206. The panel includes:

  • Penelope W. Kyle, President of Radford University
  • Don Goodman, Chief of the Radford City Police
  • Chris Rehak, Radford City Commonwealth's Attorney
  • Dr. Tom Goodale, Educational Consultant
  • Emil Moldovan, adjunct faculty member of the Department of Criminal Justice at RU

Taught by Radford University professors Tod Burke and Stephen Owen, "Investigating the Kennedy Assassination" explores an event that has captured the imagination of Americans for the past five decades. Students have focused on every aspect of the assassination, learning about the changing landscape of the early 1960s, from politics to pop culture.

Now, at the end of the semester, students will present their group projects, where they take the existing data and think of new ways to explore the JFK assassination. Students will be expected to defend their new research, answer questions and explain their ideas.

"This is a multi-disciplinary approach in so many ways," said Burke, associate dean of RU's College of Humanities and Behavioral Sciences, professor of criminal justice and former Maryland police officer. "They learn about investigative technique and police procedure, but the assassination touches on psychology, sociology, political science and even philosophy."

According to Burke and Owen, who first taught the class in 2008, past students went above and beyond in discovering new ways to investigate the half-century old killing. One group used advanced biometrics to determine whether Lee Harvey Oswald was capable of moving fast enough to be present at all shooting locations. Another group examined the weather in the Dallas area on the day of the shooting to determine whether any meteorological influences were germane to the case.

This year's groups will provide more striking new looks at the assassination.

"Finding a new perspective on a 50-year-old investigation isn’t easy and we expect a lot of our students. They’ve met and exceeded our expectations so far," Burke said.

The student presentations will be open to the public.

Nov 20, 2013