Gene McCarthy was born 100 years ago today. He spent most of the first 30 years of his life in central Minnesota, growing up in Watkins and then attending and teaching at St. John’s University. For a time he was a member of St. John’s Abbey as a novice. Al Eisele noted, “McCarthy spent nine months as a novice before deciding he didn’t have a religious calling and left the monastery, causing a fellow novice to say, ‘It was like losing a 20-game winner.'”
I have the honor of a professorship in the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement. Ironically, when I was growing up my political hero was Hubert Humphrey. I was 8 years old in the fall of 1968, and my first memory of McCarthy was a Saturday Evening Post cover featuring Humphrey and McCarthy:
Saturday Evening Post, August 24, 1968
I don’t know why that image stuck with me all of these years but it did. The enthusiastic parade in the image is quite a contrast to what actually happened
MPR commemorated the event today by playing their documentary The McCarthy Tapes. We’re going to celebrate McCarthy’s 100th birthday here at CSB|SJU during the week of April 11. A complete list of events is here. Please join us!