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1988 Michael Dukakis '55 Campaigns on Campus

In April, Michael Dukakis '55 visited his alma mater in April in the midst of his 1988 campaign as the Democratic candidate for the United States presidency. Addressing more than 600 attendees, Dukakis described his Swarthmore experience as "the best years of my life."

The highlight of the evening occurred when J. Roland Pennock, Richter Professor Emeritus of Political Science, presented Dukakis with a physics book, representing the legendary D-minus he received that persuaded him to give up pursuing a pre-med track and switch to political science. According to Dukakis, his physics professor "couldn't have been more understanding, more sympathetic, more sensitive, and was nice enough to give me a D-minus to get me out of the class before I failed." At the end of the event, Dukakis concluded his remarks with a simple request: "If you'll have me, I'd love to come back at a Swarthmore Commencement as president." 

In 2008, Dukakis again spoke on campus about presidential politics, this time as the annual Constitution Day speaker.